The last time Melvin Gordon came under fire, the veteran running back was placated by retaining his starting job. This time, a much different outcome: he no longer has a job.
One of John Elway's final free-agent acquisitions, Gordon led the Broncos in rushing each of the past two seasons, totaling 1,904 ground yards and 17 touchdowns on 418 carries (4.6 yards per carry). He also fumbled seven times, a bugaboo that led Denver to draft and begin grooming Javonte Williams as RB1 in 2021.
To some surprise, Denver re-signed Gordon to an incentive-laden prove-it deal this past offseason, with rookie head coach/then-playcaller Nathaniel Hackett preferring a backfield committee — Gordon, Williams, and third-down specialist Mike Boone.
To no surprise, however, Gordon's issues remained. The former Pro Bowler coughed up his fifth fumble across 10 games during Sunday's 22-16 overtime defeat to Las Vegas. Occurring deep in the red zone, this dropped ball was a potential seven-point swing in a six-point result, for which he accepted responsibility.
“I was sick about it, obviously," Gordon told reporters after the game. "I kind of know what comes after that at this point. I shot my own self in the foot. I am a little salty because I was feeling it today. That happened and I kind of knew that I was going to have to find a way to get back in rhythm. I knew it was going to be tough. I tried to make splashes here and there after it but my share of opportunities kind of dwindled after that, and that was my fault.”
Gordon's departure pushes Latavius Murray to the top of the Broncos' RB pyramid. With Chase Edmonds (high-ankle sprain) reportedly sidelined "a few weeks" and Boone (ankle) yet to return from injured reserve, Marlon Mack should serve as Murray's backup for Week 12 at Carolina.
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