Philip Rivers wants to see his teammate succeed both on and off the field.
The Chargers quarterback expressed his support for running back Melvin Gordon despite his continued absence from training camp into the preseason as he seeks a new contract.
“I know Melvin knows I’m pulling for him,” Rivers said Thursday, via ESPN. “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.
“He knows that. I doubt anything I said will make PFT (Pro Football Talk) headlines, but I think those that know me will know that’s what I meant all along.”
Gordon is scheduled to earn $5.6 million in 2019 and would need to return by Week 10 in order to get credit for the final year of his four-year, $10.67 million contract. The Chargers could then use the franchise tag and try to trade him in the offseason.
It’s also been reported that Gordon requested to be dealt amid the sour negotiations, though the team didn’t give him permission to seek trade options with other NFL teams.
Regardless of how things work out, Rivers assured that he and the rest of his squad will be ready for the start of the regular season.
“If he’s not here, we’ve got to go, and I think that’s what I was saying three weeks ago,” Rivers said. “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 18 (actually August 15) and everything is OK at this point.”
Gordon, 26, had 1,375 combined rushing and receiving yards and a career-high 14 touchdowns in 12 games last season. The two-time Pro Bowl selection has had three consecutive seasons of more than 1,300 total yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Chargers are scheduled to host the Colts for their home opener Sept. 8.