SAN DIEGO (AP) Melvin Gordon is looking forward to Sunday, and for more than just his first taste of the San Diego Chargers' rivalry with the Oakland Raiders.
Gordon was benched Sunday in the Chargers' gut-wrenching loss at Green Bay after fumbling twice, one of which he lost.
''I am eager to go out there and just prove to myself and prove to everyone that I can take care of the football and I can go out there and do what they need,'' Gordon said Wednesday.
Gordon didn't practice Wednesday. The team said he had an ankle injury. He said he'll be fine. He's fumbled four times this season, losing three.
Getting benched was doubly tough for Gordon, who played at Wisconsin before being drafted No. 15 overall by the Chargers (2-4).
''Holding the ball is all mental,'' he said. ''You've got to be focused. You've got to know when you're going through the trenches that guys are pulling and reaching out from every direction. From here on out I've got to be mentally locked on it. Just know guys are trying to feed their families so they're going to be trying to get that ball however. I'll be clean on that. Definitely work on that.''
Gordon knows defenses will be targeting him.
''No doubt. I would if I was them,'' he said. ''That comes with me fumbling. They see the film. I'm going to be doing drills and techniques, cleaning things up.''
Also Wednesday, the beleaguered offensive line got left tackle King Dunlap (concussion) and left guard Orlando Franklin (ankle) back. They had each missed the last three games. Center Chris Watt (groin, concussion) was limited in practice. He has missed two of the last three games.
Gordon has yet to score his first NFL touchdown, in part because the line has been in such flux.
''It's big having those guys back out here,'' Gordon said. ''They get paid for a reason. Those guys are phenomenal up front. Take away nothing from the guys who've been in there, but it was good having those guys back. They know the game, know the system. Things should clear up a lot out there.''
San Diego trails AFC West leader Denver (6-0) and the Raiders (2-3).
There's an awkward twist to the rivalry this year.
While fans of the teams still hate each other, Chargers chairman Dean Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis have proposed to jointly build a stadium in Carson if they can't get new stadiums in their home markets. The Chargers and Raiders were spooked by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke announcing intentions to build a stadium in Inglewood.
Chargers officials walked away from negotiations with San Diego officials in mid-June and many fans feel Spanos has turned his back on them, too.
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