|Born:||April 13, 1993|
Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||215 lb (98 kg)|
|High school:||Bradford (Kenosha, Wisconsin)|
|NFL Draft:||2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 15|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2022|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Melvin Gordon III (born April 13, 1993) is an American football running back who is a free agent. He played college football at Wisconsin, and was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the first round (15th) of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Gordon briefly held the NCAA Division I FBS single-game rushing yards record with 408 yards, set playing in three quarters against Nebraska in November 2014, until it was broken the following week. He became the second all-time single-season rusher in FBS history with 2,587 yards, falling 41 yards shy of Barry Sanders record of 2,628 yards set in 1988.
Gordon was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin and attended Mary D. Bradford High School, where he was a two-sport star for the Red Devils in both football and track. In football, he tallied 1,098 yards and 11 scores on 99 carries, and had five receiving touchdowns, and was an honorable mention All-state and All-region by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) as a junior. He was a first-team All-state selection by the Associated Press and the WFCA as a senior, after he rushed for 2,009 yards with 38 touchdowns. He was the Wisconsin Gatorade Football Player of the Year. Gordon's played on the same team as cornerback Trae Waynes, who was drafted four spots ahead of Gordon in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
As an outstanding track & field athlete, Gordon was one of the state's top performers in the long jump. At the 2011 Racine Invitational event, he ran the 55-meter dash in a PR 6.39 seconds on his way to a first-place finish. He earned a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash at the 2011 SEC Outdoor Conference, recording a career-best time of 10.95 seconds. At the 2011 WIAA Track & Field State Championships, he took silver in the long jump event after posting a career-best leap of 7.20 meters (23 ft 7 in).
Regarded as a four-star recruit by the Rivals.com recruiting service, Gordon was ranked the No. 24 running back in the nation. He was ranked the top player in Wisconsin by ESPN.com. He chose Wisconsin over scholarship offers from Iowa, Louisville, and Michigan. Gordon originally committed to the University of Iowa but decommitted and chose the University of Wisconsin–Madison instead.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||40‡||Commit date|
|Kenosha, WI||Bradford||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)||185 lb (84 kg)||4.5||Dec 5, 2010|
|Recruiting star ratings: Scout:|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: #38 RB Rivals: #24 RB 247Sports: #6 RB ESPN: #39 ATH|
Gordon attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he played for the Wisconsin Badgers football team from 2011 through 2014 under head coaches Bret Bielema, Barry Alvarez, and Gary Andersen.
See also: 2011 Wisconsin Badgers football team
As a freshman in 2011, Gordon played in three games rushing 20 times for 98 yards with a touchdown. He rushed for his first career collegiate touchdown in the 59–10 victory over South Dakota on September 24. He was given a medical redshirt after suffering a groin injury.
See also: 2012 Wisconsin Badgers football team
In 2012, Gordon was the third string running back behind Montee Ball and James White. In the Badgers' third game against UTEP, he had eight carries for 112 rushing yards and a touchdown for his first collegiate game going over the century mark. He set a career-high record of 216 yards on nine carries averaging 24 yards per carry in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers where the unranked Badgers defeated the #12 Cornhuskers by a score of 70–31. During the 2013 Rose Bowl, he had nine carries for 51 yards against #6 Stanford but ultimately the unranked Badgers lost by a score of 20–14.
Over the course of the 2012 season, Gordon rushed 62 times for 621 yards and three touchdowns.
See also: 2013 Wisconsin Badgers football team
James White and Gordon received a majority of the carries and the backfield and both were productive. To start the season, Gordon had 13 carries for 144 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown against Massachusetts. In the following game, against Tennessee Tech, on only nine carries, he had 140 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown for a 15.6 yards per carry average. In the following game, the Badgers had their first setback of the season on the road against Arizona State. Gordon had a season-high in yardage with 193 yards on 15 carries for two rushing touchdowns. Gordon found the endzone three times to go along with 147 yards on 16 carries in the following game against Purdue. After a setback to Ohio State in the following game, Gordon and Badgers reeled off a six-game winning streak. To start the winning streak, Gordon had 22 carries for 172 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown against Northwestern. One week later, against Illinois, he found the endzone three times for the second time in the 2013 season. In the victory, he tallied 142 rushing yards on 17 carries to go along with the touchdowns. On November 14, Gordon was named one of the ten semifinalists for the 2013 Doak Walker Award. Two days later, against Indiana, he had 13 carries for 146 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. In December 2013, Gordon announced after much speculation that he would be returning to Wisconsin for his junior season. In explaining his decision, Gordon stated that,"I love the University of Wisconsin and feel that there is still a lot of room for growth...academically, another year in school will help me get closer to completing my degree, and on the field I hope to help my team get back the Big Ten championship." With their 9–3 record, the Badgers earned a spot in the Capital One Bowl against South Carolina. In the 34–24 loss, Gordon had 25 carries for 143 yards. In the 2013 season, Gordon recorded 206 carries for 1,609 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns.
See also: 2014 Wisconsin Badgers football team
Prior to the season, Gordon was widely viewed as a Heisman Trophy contender. He was also on preseason watchlists for the Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award, and Walter Camp Award. 2014 was the first year where Gordon was Wisconsin's featured running back; in 2012, he was behind both Montee Ball and James White, and 2013 he was behind James White with Corey Clement as the third string running back after Gordon.
Gordon began the season with 16 carries for 140 yards against #13 LSU on August 30 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. LSU came back from a 7–24 deficit to win the game by a score of 28–24. Wisconsin's head coach, Gary Andersen, was criticized for him only having three carries in the second half and when questioned Anderson stated he "didn't know why Gordon had limited carries". Gordon stated to the media after the game that he wasn't injured. However, two days later Andersen stated that Gordon strained his hip-flexor on the last play in the second quarter of the game against LSU and "we were trying to be smart with him as the rest of the game went on". In the second game of the season against the Western Illinois Leathernecks (FCS), Gordon was held to a season-low 38 rushing yards on 17 rushing attempts.
On September 20 against Bowling Green, Gordon had a career-high five rushing touchdowns and 253 rushing yards. Just two weeks later, Gordon surpassed his 253-yard game rushing against Bowling Green when he reached 259 yards rushing against Northwestern at Ryan Field in a losing effort. After week six Gordon was named to the CBSSports.com Midseason College Football All-America Team. Gordon was one of 20 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award.
On November 15, Gordon set the FBS single game rushing record with 408 yards versus the #16 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Gordon accomplished this, as well as scoring four rushing touchdowns, on only 25 carries in three quarters of play. The record would be broken the following week. In addition, he broke the 339-yard school record, held by Ron Dayne since 1996, and the 377-yard Big Ten Conference record, held by Indiana running back Anthony Thompson since 1989. Gordon garnered multiple Player of the Week awards for his performance against the Huskers. The Walter Camp Football Foundation, Athlon Sports, and CBSSports.com named him National Offensive Player of the Week, and the Big Ten named him the conference Offensive Player of the Week.
On November 19, Gordon was named one of ten semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award and the Walter Camp Foundation listed him as one of the fifteen "Players to Watch" for the Walter Camp Award. The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will release a list of three finalists on November 25 and the Walter Camp Foundation will release a list of five finalists on December 3.
On November 22, against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium, Gordon rushed for 200 yards and had four receptions for 64 yards, leading the team in both categories. Gordon went over 2,000 yards rushing for the season, only the 17th player in FBS history to do so. He reached the 2,000 yard mark faster than any of his predecessors, on just 241 carries. The previous holder for fastest 2,000 yards was Penn State running back Larry Johnson who accomplished the feat on 251 carries in 2002. However, Gordon's single game rushing record was broken by Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine, who gained 427 yards in a game against Kansas. When Gordon learned that his record had been broken after only one week, he commented: "That's disappointing, to have that. But congrats to that guy; that's really not easy to do." Gordon was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season as a result of his performance at Kinnick Stadium.
On November 25, Gordon was named as a finalist for the Maxwell Award with quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Dak Prescott (Mississippi State). Gordon and fellow Big Ten running backs Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska) and Tevin Coleman (Indiana) were named the three finalists for the Doak Walker Award. Gordon would later win the award. On December 1, Gordon was named the Big Ten's Ameche–Dayne Running Back of the Year as well as being a consensus 1st Team All-Big Ten Running Back. The following day, Gordon was named the Big Ten's Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year.
Gordon was one of three Heisman Trophy finalists joining Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. Gordon became Wisconsin's fourth finalist for the Heisman Trophy, all of whom played running back for the Badgers. Alan Ameche (1954) and Ron Dayne (1999) won the award, while Montee Ball (2011) finished fourth in the final balloting. Gordon finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Mariota.
Gordon waived his final year of college eligibility and entered the 2015 NFL Draft.
In Gordon's final college game, the 2015 Outback Bowl, he rushed for 251 yards against the #19 Auburn Tigers in a 34–31 overtime victory. He set the Outback Bowl rushing record with his performance and was named the game MVP. For the season, he gained 2,587 yards, second only in FBS history to the 2,628 yard record held by Barry Sanders since 1988.
After the end of the 2014 college football season, Gordon prepared for the NFL Combine at EXOS San Diego in Carlsbad based on his former Wisconsin teammate Jared Abbrederis's recommendation.
At the 2015 NFL Combine, Gordon set a new record for the 60-yard shuttle with 11.0 seconds. However, the record was then broken by Byron Jones who had a time of 10.98 seconds.
The San Diego Chargers selected Gordon in the first round with the 15th overall pick. In addition, he was one of two Wisconsin Badgers to be selected that year.
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand span||40-yard dash||10-yard split||20-yard split||20-yard shuttle||Three-cone drill||Vertical jump||Broad jump||Bench press||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 0+5⁄8 in
|4.52 s||1.62 s||2.66 s||4.07 s||7.04 s||35 in
|10 ft 6 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
See also: 2015 San Diego Chargers season
On May 15, 2015, the Chargers signed Gordon to a four-year, fully guaranteed contract for $10.66 million, with a $6 million signing bonus. The contract included a fifth-year option.
Gordon began his professional career being named the starting running back for the Chargers' season opener, ahead of veterans Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver. On September 13, 2015, he received his first career start against the Detroit Lions and finished the season opener with 14 carries, 51 rushing yards, three receptions, 16 receiving yards, and lost a fumble in the 33–28 victory. The next week, he carried the ball 16 times for a season-high 88 yards and made a 10-yard reception in a 24–19 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. On October 12, 2015, Gordon had seven catches for a season-high 52 yards and also accounted for 42 yards on 15 carries in a 20–24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5. During a Week 6 matchup at the Green Bay Packers, he had seven attempts for 29 yards and lost two fumbles in a 20–27 loss. After six consecutive starts to begin his career, Gordon was benched for the beginning of a Week 7 contest against the Oakland Raiders. He finished the game with seven carries for 29 yards. Gordon returned to his starting role the next game at the Baltimore Ravens and carried the ball a season-high 18 times for 54 yards in a 26–29 loss. In his last game of the season, he had 15 rushing attempts and 41 yards in a 30–14 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
On December 21, 2015, the Chargers placed Gordon on season-ending injured reserve after sustaining a knee injury the previous day against the Dolphins. He finished his rookie season with 184 carries, 641 rushing yards, 33 receptions, 192 receiving yards, six fumbles, and no touchdowns in 14 games and 12 starts in the Chargers 4–12 season.
See also: 2016 San Diego Chargers season
On May 10, 2016, it was revealed that Gordon had undergone microfracture surgery in January, but would still be ready for training camp and other activities starting in 2016. On September 11, 2016, Gordon scored his first two career rushing touchdowns in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. He finished the 33–27 overtime loss with 14 carries for 57 yards. After Danny Woodhead tore his ACL in Week 2 and was out for the season, Gordon became the Chargers' main running back option for the 2016 season. In Week 2, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he finished with 24 carries for 102 yards and a rushing touchdown in the 38–14 victory. In the next game against the Indianapolis Colts, he was limited to only 35 rushing yards, but he also recorded his fourth rushing touchdown of the season in the 26–22 loss. In the next game, against the New Orleans Saints, he finished with only 36 rushing yards but had two more rushing touchdowns in the 35–34 loss After the next two games without a rushing touchdown, he recorded 68 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons in the 33–30 victory. In the next game, in a matchup against the Denver Broncos, he finished with 23 carries for 111 yards in the 27–19 loss. In Week 9, against the Tennessee Titans, he had his most productive game of the season with 32 carries for 196 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown while adding 65 receiving yards in the 43–35 victory. He totaled 229 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown from Weeks 10–14 before injuring his hip against the Panthers in Week 14 and missing the rest of the season. He finished the season rushing for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 41 receptions for 419 yards and two touchdowns in the Chargers' 5–11 season. Gordon missed the final three games of the season after suffering hip and knee injuries, finishing just three yards shy of 1,000 yards rushing. Gordon was named to his first Pro Bowl as a replacement for injured Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.
See also: 2017 Los Angeles Chargers season
On September 11, 2017, in the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football, Gordon returned from his injury and had a receiving touchdown in the 24–21 loss. In Weeks 2 and 3, he recorded a rushing touchdown in both games. In Week 5, Gordon ran for 105 yards on 20 carries and had six catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns in a 27–22 win over the New York Giants, earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week. In the next game, against the Oakland Raiders, he recorded 150 scrimmage yards, one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown. On October 29, against the New England Patriots, he had an 87-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. The rushing play tied for the longest run in franchise history. He finished with 132 rushing yards and a touchdown in the 21–13 loss in Week 8. From Weeks 14–16, he had a rushing touchdown in three straight games. In the Week 15 against the Chiefs, he had 169 total scrimmage yards. Overall, in the 2017 season, Gordon finished with 1,105 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 58 receptions, 476 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns in the Chargers' 9–7 season.
See also: 2018 Los Angeles Chargers season
On May 2, 2018, the Chargers picked up the fifth-year option on Gordon's contract. In the 2018 season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, Gordon recorded 64 rushing yards to go along with nine receptions for 102 receiving yards in the 38–28 loss. In Week 2, against the Buffalo Bills, he had three total touchdowns (one rushing and two receiving) in the 31–20 victory. In Week 4, against the San Francisco 49ers, he had 104 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown in the victory. In Week 6, against the Cleveland Browns, he had 132 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in the victory. In Week 9, against the Seattle Seahawks, he had 113 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 25–17 victory. In Week 10 against the Oakland Raiders, Gordon rushed for 93 yards and had five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown in the 20–6 victory. In the following game against the Denver Broncos, he totaled 156 scrimmage yards in the 23–22 loss. In Week 12, against the Arizona Cardinals, he suffered an MCL injury and was sidelined for the next game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He returned to playing in Week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens. Overall, he finished the 2018 regular season with 885 rushing yards, ten rushing touchdowns, 50 receptions, 590 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns. The Chargers made the playoffs as the #5-seed in the AFC with a 12–4 record. He earned his second Pro Bowl nomination for his accomplishments in the 2018 season. In the Wild Card Round against the Baltimore Ravens, he had 40 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in his playoff debut, a 23–17 victory. In the Divisional Round against the New England Patriots, he was limited to 15 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on nine carries in the 41–28 loss. He was ranked 34th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2019.
See also: 2019 Los Angeles Chargers season
In February 2019, Gordon changed his jersey number from 28 to 25. He wore 25 throughout his collegiate career with the Wisconsin Badgers.
On July 13, 2019, Gordon told the Chargers that if he did not receive a new contract, he would demand to be traded and skip training camp. His goal in staging a holdout was to make as much money as fellow running backs Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and Le'Veon Bell. Gordon stated that "I know my value. I know what I bring to this team, and I'm sticking with that." Through four seasons, he had 3,628 rushing yards and 1,577 receiving yards along with 38 total touchdowns. On July 16, 2019, Gordon stated that "I want to end up with the Chargers, I mean, that's my home. I'm not going to sit here and be like, I don't want to go back to the Chargers. That's the team who blessed me with an opportunity. They changed my life. Out of all 32 teams, that was the team that called. I can't forget them for that." Gordon continued his holdout into the regular season after the Chargers did not trade him and Ezekiel Elliott was made the NFL's highest-paid running back. He reported to the team on September 26, 2019, and the Chargers received a roster exemption for him.
Gordon made his 2019 regular season debut in a 20–13 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 5. On October 20, in Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans, the Chargers had driven down the field to Tennessee's one-yard line and had a chance to score late in the fourth quarter. The Chargers had run with Gordon on first down for no gain as his knee was down before he lost and regained control of the ball on the goal-line. On 2nd down, the Chargers again ran the ball with Gordon where Titans' linebacker Wesley Woodyard forced him to fumble the ball into the endzone which was recovered by defensive end Jurrell Casey leading to a Titans' recovery and touchback. If Gordon had scored the Chargers would have taken the lead with only seven seconds remaining, effectively ensuring a Charger victory. The fumble was the second of the day for Gordon as the Chargers lost 23–20 to fall to a 2–5 record on the season. In Week 8 against the Chicago Bears, Gordon rushed eight times for 31 yards and his first rushing touchdown of the season in the 17–16 win. In Week 9 against the Green Bay Packers, Gordon rushed 20 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns in the 26–11 win. In Week 10 against the Oakland Raiders, Gordon rushed 22 times for 108 yards and a touchdown and caught one pass for 25 yards in the 26–24 loss. This was Gordon's first game with at least 100 rushing yards of the season. In Week 16, against the Oakland Raiders, he was limited to 15 rushing yards, but scored on the ground twice in the 24–17 loss. Overall, in the 2019 season, Gordon finished with 162 carries for 612 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns to go along with 42 receptions for 296 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown as the Chargers finished with a 5–11 record. Gordon became a free agent after the 2019 season ended.
On March 26, 2020, Gordon signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Denver Broncos. The signing became official on April 27, 2020.
See also: 2020 Denver Broncos season
Gordon made his debut with the Broncos in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. During the game, Gordon rushed 15 times for 78 yards and a rushing touchdown in the 16–14 loss. In Week 4 against the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football, he had 23 carries for 107 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, including a game-sealing 43-yard touchdown, in the 37–28 victory. In Week 11 against the Miami Dolphins, Gordon rushed 15 times for 84 yards and two rushing touchdowns during the 20–13 win. During the game, Gordon lost another fumble at the goal line. In Week 13 against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, Gordon recorded 15 carries for 131 rushing yards during the 22–16 loss.
Overall, Gordon finished the 2020 season with 215 carries for 986 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns to go along with 32 receptions for 158 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown as the Broncos finished with a 5–11 record. While sharing with backfield with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, Gordon led the team in all major rushing categories.
See also: 2021 Denver Broncos season
Gordon shared the backfield with rookie Javonte Williams in the 2021 season. In Week 1, against the New York Giants, he had 101 rushing yards, including a 70-yard rushing touchdown, in the 27–13 victory. In Week 14, he had 24 carries for 111 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 38–10 victory over the Detroit Lions. Gordon finished the 2021 season with 203 carries for 918 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns to go along with 28 receptions for 213 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns as the Broncos finished with a 7–10 record. Gordon and Williams proved to be one of the most productive backfield duos in the NFL for the 2021 season.
See also: 2022 Denver Broncos season
On April 27, 2022, Gordon re-signed with the Broncos on a one-year deal. On November 21, the Broncos waived Gordon after a costly fumble against the Las Vegas Raiders, which was his fifth fumble of the season. Gordon played in 10 games for the Broncos, finishing with 90 carries for 318 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and 25 receptions for 223 receiving yards.
Gordon was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad on November 29, 2022. Gordon won his first Super Bowl ring when the Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, despite not having played for Kansas City in the regular season, post-season, or Super Bowl. His practice squad contract with the team expired after the season on February 12, 2023.
In 2018, Gordon founded the Beyond the Flash Foundation, which is designed to help fight hunger and provide needy families with support. The foundation supports mission-aligned organizations in California, Colorado, and Wisconsin.
Gordon was arrested in Denver for speeding and DUI on October 14, 2020. He posted a $55,000 cash bond. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on January 14, 2021. The DUI charge was dismissed on March 10, 2021, and Gordon instead pleaded guilty to speeding and reckless driving.
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