DENVER — It speaks to the narrow focus of the position.
Melvin Gordon faced the Broncos nine times over five years. But he really didn't know the Broncos before signing a two-year, $16 million deal with $13.5 million guaranteed last week. He was versed in their defense. But the team?
"No," Gordon said on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. "The running backs coach (Curtis Modkins) talked to me. I talked to the offensive coordinator (Pat Shurmur) today. I reached out to (quarterback) Drew (Lock). I know Von (Miller). (Running back Phillip) Lindsay hit me up."
Gordon admits he's determined to microwave his learning curve of the new playbook. He has experience of changing coordinators at Wisconsin and with the Chargers, so he believes he can still get up to speed if the traditional offseason team activities are postponed or canceled.
"In a sense, it depends on how you buckle down and study. It’s nothing new. The Chargers playbook, it was pretty tough hearing from other guys coming in. It was one of the more difficult ones," said Gordon, who has been training in Florida, but now might resort to pushups and cardio activities as gyms in the state are closing due to the coronavirus. " And I think I will be pretty good with (pass) protection and stuff like that. I am banking on learning it pretty fast."
That Lindsay reached out speaks to his character and his standing in the locker room. After only two seasons Lindsay has emerged as one of the core leaders, and while Gordon's arrival might not benefit him, it didn't change his approach to winning. For Gordon not facing the Broncos could lead to more success. He went 3-6 against Denver, averaging 65.9 yards per game with one touchdown. He fared better against the Raiders and Chargers — scoring 13 touchdowns in 16 games with 1,018 yards rushing and 67 receptions for 637 yards.
Gordon served as a cornerstone for the Chargers, making the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2018. However, he held out prior to last season, seeking a new contract. It backfired. The Chargers never blinked. And as Gordon sat out four games Austin Ekeler emerged as a budding star. Gordon finished strong, but the Chargers moved on, investing heavily in Ekeler, a former Eaton High star.
Gordon admitted missing games was difficult.
"It was terrible, man. I don't wish that type of situation on any player. It's tough," said Gordon, appealing to the Broncos because of his ability as a receiver -- he has averaged 50 receptions over the past three seasons -- and his short yardage acumen against eight-man fronts. "I had a really strong offseason to set myself up to be successful. It stinks. Going out there and watching the team winning and losing without you, it sucked watching from a distance."
As such, signing with the Broncos offers an added benefit. He will face his former team twice a year.
"It's going to be cool, man. Those are the guys I have been around for five years, guys I was going to war with and talking trash with, now I am on the opposite side," Gordon said. "It's going to be different. It's going to be fun."