Although players from the other 30 teams in the NFL would love to play in the Super Bowl rather than be at it for fun, sometimes that week is one of the few opportunities for players to meet and get to know one another.
Such was the case for Melvin Gordon and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
During the week leading up to Super Bowl 50, McCoy interviewed current and former athletes as part of the NFL's Fan Pass. One of those players was Gordon and after the interview, McCoy took it upon himself to impart some advice on the running back.
"I told him that he has 'it,'" McCoy said. "(I told him) don't be influenced or discouraged by your rookie season. Just because a person has a rookie season (that) people, the outside world, feel was a disappointment doesn't mean you should feel discouraged. You have to attack your rehab and everything you're doing full speed and watch what happens. Look at the season he's having; he's fourth in the league in rushing yards."
"I just had the chance to sit down with him," Gordon added. "When I see a vet who has been in the game for a while, I'm not the type to hold back. If I have a question, I'll ask. When an older guy has been in the league for a while and says something to you, you listen. At that moment, I think he was not only being a leader for his team but a leader as a brother in this league. It was pretty much the general work hard (kind of conversation) and when things are looking down, that you just need to continue to work hard and your time will come."
With 11 total touchdowns and the opportunity to be the first Charger since 2013 to rush for 1,000 yards on the season, Gordon's time certainly has come and his ceiling is still high. McCoy said he isn't surprised that number 28 is having this type of season. Frankly, he could tell good things were on the horizon last February.
"He had the look in his eyes when we were talking that he was taking in what I was saying to him," McCoy mentioned. "I'm sure plenty of people have talked to him, but I'm just going off what I said to him. What I was saying was that (he) has what it takes to a dominant running back in this league and he's showing it. It's great to see him be successful because he had so much success in college. Obviously, people want to keep that (success) rolling over into the NFL, it just took him a year to get going. But look at him! When he gets it rolling, he's hard to slow down."
In addition, McCoy called Gordon "fun to watch" and "special," two superlatives that mean a lot to the second-year player.
"When you hear guys of that caliber speak that highly of you and say things like that, that motivates you," Gordon said. "We all compete against each other. We all want to be the best and be the best team, but at the end of the day, it's players like him who understand that this is a brotherhood and we're a fraternity. Hearing things like that make you want to grind and be even better."
As for his thoughts on going up against McCoy on Sunday? Gordon said he's excited and got a scouting report from a fellow running back.
"It's going to be special! Todd (Gurley) went against him and told me (McCoy) is a beast. Obviously, we know he's a beast, but it's going to be good."