ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Newly signed running back Melvin Gordon said Friday he believes he can co-exist in the Denver Broncos' offense with Phillip Lindsay and is eager to prove he is "better than just average."
Gordon missed the first four Los Angeles Chargers games last season due to a contract holdout and then averaged less than 3 yards per carry in the first three games he did play. For the season, he had just one 100-yard rushing game on his way to a career-low 612 yards rushing.
The 26-year-old -- he'll turn 27 in April -- said that looking back, if he could do it again, he likely would have come back to the Chargers sooner, and the experience put a "huge" chip on his shoulder as he arrives to the Broncos.
"I just felt like a lot of people doubt my talent as a back," Gordon said. "Just during the holdout, saying, 'He's just an average back, he's not this, he's not that.' Just this year saying, 'He's not the back that he was.' ... I'm going to take that and use it as fuel because I know what type of player I am and I want to show that. I want to show that, and I am going to show that I'm better than just average."
Gordon's two-year, $16 million deal with the Broncos raised some eyebrows among some of the team's faithful given that Lindsay has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and the South High School (Denver) graduate has been one of the most popular players on the team since he made the roster as an undrafted rookie in 2018. Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway has said he'd like to "look at" getting Lindsay a new contract and has said publicly he sees Lindsay and Gordon as a needed "one-two punch."
"He's a great back," Gordon said of Lindsay. "Obviously I watched him up close, in person, and these past few days I've been watching film on him as well, just kind of seeing how they opened things up for him, analyzing a little bit. I think we could be a great one-two punch."
Last season Lindsay led the Broncos in carries (224), yards rushing (1,011) and rushing touchdowns (seven). Royce Freeman was second on the team in carries with 132, and no other running back had more than two carries.
For the Chargers last season, Gordon led in carries with 162, while Austin Ekeler had 132 carries to go with 92 receptions. Gordon said Friday that Lindsay had already reached out to him to talk about the upcoming season.
"Me and Austin were kind of that one-two punch, one of the better tandems in the league," Gordon said. "I just hope to continue that with Lindsay. I know people are wondering, what is his position, getting carries, things like that. Right now it's about winning football games. We'll worry about that later. ... I think he's great with everything."
Last season Gordon held out in hopes of a new deal -- his contract at the time was 27th in the league in total value among running backs -- and the Chargers had given Gordon the chance to seek a trade. However, they didn't offer him the contract he desired and no trade was made, an experience Gordon said Friday he probably would have skipped if he had to do it again.
"At times, it was definitely difficult," Gordon said. "You could kind of feel some tension, I could feel some tension walking around, but I just tried my best ... to show up and work every day.
"I can't take back what I did," Gordon continued. "I probably would come back. More so because of my legacy, what I'm trying to do as a player."