Chargers RB Melvin Gordon ended his holdout and reported to the Chargers' facility on Thursday.
Despite a lengthy holdout that stretched from training camp through the first three weeks of the season, Chargers running back Melvin Gordon could see the field this weekend against the Dolphins, coach Anthony Lynn told reporters on Friday.
With fellow running back Justin Jackson out of commission due to a calf strain, Lynn said Gordon could play his first game of the year this Sunday, albeit in a limited role. The news comes just 24 hours after Gordon ended his 64-day holdout and reported to the Chargers' facility.
Gordon will travel with the team to Miami and is currently on the NFL's two-week exempt list, meaning the Chargers have until Week 6 to activate the star running back or waive him. Gordon does not currently count against the Chargers' 53-man roster, but the team would need to deactivate a player if they choose to dress him this weekend.
Despite initially saying that Gordon would not play against the Dolphins, Lynn also confirmed that Gordon would be their "No. 1 guy" in the backfield once he is ready to play. Gordon passed his physical and was cleared to practice upon his return on Thursday. If he does indeed return in a limited role, Gordon will share carries with Austin Ekeler, who racked up 160 rushing yards and four touchdowns over the first three weeks of the season in Gordon’s absence. The Chargers currently sit 13th in the league in rushing.
Gordon's holdout stemmed from an offseason contract dispute between him and the Chargers. Gordon, now in the final year of his rookie deal and set to make $4.6 million this season, desired an extension that would pay him an annual salary of $13-$14 million, the going rate for elite NFL running backs such as Le'Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliot. The Chargers countered with a $10 million offer, which Gordon declined.
Even after his return to the team, Gordon believes this will be his final season with Los Angeles and is scheduled to become a free agent in March. Gordon must also pay around $3 million in fines for missing all of training camp and the preseason as well as the first three games of the regular season. The Chargers have expressed intent to collect those fines, and Gordon said on Friday the team reduced them in half.
Los Angeles (1-2) will play the Dolphins (0-3) this Sunday in Miami.