Chargers' Melvin Gordon plans to report in 6 to 8 weeks

The Chargers are beginning the season without running back Melvin Gordon, as one of their stars is still holding out. And the plan is for that to continue for some time.

Sources say that Gordon, who missed training camp because of his desire for a new contract, is expected to report this season. But the current plan is to report in the window that spans from Week 6 through Week 8.

Gordon, who will play on the $5.6 million fifth-year option, must report by Week 10 to have this season count and qualify for free agency next year. He will show up before then, with Gordon not planning to pull a Le'Veon Bell -- who sat out all of the 2018 season with the Steelers after refusing to sign a second-straight franchise tag.

But Gordon, who played through injuries over the last several years but only missed nine games in four seasons, will limit the injury risk in anticipation of free agency. He'll cut the season in half, roughly, while not cutting it out completely. If he doesn't get franchise-tagged, Gordon will be one of the top free agents in 2020. He had his best year last year, averaging 5.1 yards per rush.

In his place, Austin Ekeler is slated to get the start, while Justin Jackson will also get some touches. It'll be by committee.

His absence is another turn in a saga that's been frustrating for both sides. The team has fined Gordon about $1 million already, and those will only go up. The team recently gave Gordon permission to seek a trade, but only the Eagles called with an offer that wasn't deemed worth discussing further. General manager Tom Telesco went public with the team's stance of cutting off contract talks now that the season has started.

Coach Anthony Lynn sounded this week like he was done talking about it.

"We've been talking about this for a month and a half," Lynn said. "Now, it's time to play football."

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter at @RapSheet.

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