COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Melvin Gordon called Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn on Wednesday night to let him know he was ending his holdout.
Lynn wasn’t ready to believe it until the fifth-year running back walked through the door at the team’s complex. That happened Thursday morning as Gordon took part in his first practice since the final day of minicamp on June 13.
Gordon missed training camp and LA’s first three games as he held out for 65 days in the vain hopes of getting a new contract.
Lynn said he wasn’t concerned about Gordon’s frame of mind after their long conversation.
“That was the biggest concern, but I’m telling you that he’s in a good place right now. He just wanted to play football,” Lynn said.
Gordon did not appear during Thursday’s media availability. He is expected to take questions after Friday’s practice.
Lynn said he doubts Gordon would be ready to play Sunday when the Chargers (1-2) visit Miami but he wanted to assess his conditioning and agility during practices before making a final decision.
“I’m not concerned about the contact. He has played football all his life. I just want to see where he is stamina-wise,” Lynn said.
Lynn usually leaves players at home who have no shot of playing but he said having Gordon on the cross-country trip to Florida could be beneficial.
“I just think if there are more people, more distractions. I think this can be a good distraction. I like this one,” Lynn said.
Gordon has gained over 1,200 yards from scrimmage and scored 10 or more touchdowns in three straight seasons, but the Chargers running game still thrived in his absence. Los Angeles running backs are averaging 5.4 yards per carry, which is third-best in the league and over a yard more than the NFL average.
Austin Ekeler leads AFC running backs in yards from scrimmage and Justin Jackson is averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
“We got a little swag back in the room. We have one of our playmakers back and I’m glad he is with us,” Ekeler said. “We can finally move forward as a full unit.”
Ekeler added that all three backs can coexist in the offense and that it might allow coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to add some creative wrinkles.
Jackson said it was a relief to have Gordon back and that the team’s energy picked up during the morning walkthrough.
Gordon was slated to make $5.6 million on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. He is subject to $1.2 million worth of fines along with losing $988,236 for missing the first three games.
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