In a world where athletes claim they don't read headlines, Melvin Gordon is an outlier and he wants his critics to know it.
A week removed from ending his lengthy holdout, the Los Angeles Chargers running back discussed on Friday how motivated he is to get back in the swing of things. And, based on his comments, Gordon feels particularly inspired by the talk that surrounded his actions and the amount of attention given to Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who had a notable holdout of his own.
"I'm definitely motivated. No one cared that Melvin Gordon was out. It was all about Zeke. And it ain't no hate. That's America's team, but some players on talk shows they care less to talk about it," Gordon told reporters, per The O.C. Register's Gilbert Manzano. "You got people in your corner, and they in your corner one second, and the next second, they're hating on you. You got a lot of people hating on you. The best way to do that is to go shut them up. I remember what everybody said."
Gordon rejoined the team on Sept. 26, but did so without accomplishing the end goal he set out to achieve when his absence began: a more substantial, long-term contract. Against the Dolphins in Week 4, Gordon saw zero snaps, despite being active for the first time this season and reportedly being ready for reps.
In Elliott's case, the two-time Pro Bowler and NFL rushing leader ended his absence by inking a massive six-year, $90 million extension, making him the NFL's highest-paid RB. It's highly unlikely Gordon, who is also a two-time Pro Bowler, commands anywhere near those figures but the 26-year-old wants to make sure all eyes are on him as he plays out the remainder of his contract year.
As far as Week 5 versus Denver goes, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn sounded content with letting Gordon work his way back, saying Friday, "I don't want to put him in there and play him too much, and I really don't have to. I like what Austin Ekeler has been doing," per Manzano. Ekeler, who's had a solid year thus far as the Bolts lead back, had 18 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown, to go along with five catches for 62 yards and a TD, in the Week 4 win.
Gordon has clearly taken exception to Elliott's time in the spotlight, but the only way he'll even have a chance at proving he deserves more attention is by regaining his status as RB1, a process that can begin at home against the Broncos.