Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is prepared to sit out regular-season games absent a new contract, ESPN reported Thursday. The report adds that Gordon wants to return in time for the regular season, but the sides have not made progress toward a deal.
Gordon, 26, has held out for all of training camp in search of an extension as he enters the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, which will pay him $5.6 million in 2019. ESPN reported two weeks ago that Gordon had formally requested a trade through his agent, but the team replied saying Gordon won't be dealt. A two-time Pro Bowler, Gordon has scored 38 touchdowns over the past three seasons. In 55 career games, he has gained 5,205 yards from scrimmage.
Quarterback Philip Rivers told reporters Thursday he supports Gordon. "I know Melvin knows I'm pulling for him," Rivers said. "And in saying that, that means you want what's best for him. You want him to feel great. You want him to be at peace with how it all ends, and hopefully it's right here."
Some had interpreted Rivers' comments from early in training camp -- when he praised the depth at the position with Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome -- to mean the team didn't need Gordon. "If he's not here, we've got to go, and I think that's what I was saying three weeks ago," Rivers said Thursday. "We do have good players here at that position, and so we've got to go.
"Are we better with Melvin? Heck yeah we are. So hopefully we have him, in addition to these other guys, and then it will be one of the saltiest running back groups around. Again, I'm in no place to speak for the organization, but I know no player is in a panic right now. We want to support him. We wish he was here, but we know it's August (15), and everything is OK at this point." Meanwhile, ESPN also reported Thursday that wide receiver Keenan Allen injured his ankle at practice this week and will likely miss the rest of the preseason. Allen is expected to be ready for Week 1, however.
Allen, 27, played in all 16 games for the second consecutive season last year -- totaling 97 catches, 1,196 yards and six touchdowns -- after missing 23 games from 2015-16.
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