Melvin Gordon desperately wanted to end his season the way it began – fighting for a win with his Bolt brothers against the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, the running back remains less than 100% after sustaining hip and knee injuries in the opening minutes of Week 13's loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Thus, while he fought hard to return to action, his season officially came to an end on Friday when the Chargers ruled number 28 out for Week 17. It was hard news for Gordon to swallow.
"He was crushed," described Head Coach Mike McCoy. "It's what you thought his reaction would be just because he's worked so hard. I wish everybody worked as hard as he did to get back to where he was today. Since the day he got hurt he had the mindset of 'I'm coming back at some point in time this year', so it was hard for him. He also understood the situation… He had a phenomenal year and he has such a great future. I mean, he is going to be a special player in this league for a long time."
Gordon essentially missed the final quarter of the season, making his breakout year all the more impressive. He finishes with 254 carries for 997 yards, averaging 3.9 yards per attempt with 10 touchdowns along with 41 receptions for 419 yards and two TD catches.
One day after sustaining the injury, he explained how he'd fight tooth and nail to get back on the field in 2016. However, he said if he couldn't return, finishing three yards shy of 1,000 wouldn't take anything away from what has been a special season.
"This year was a productive season for me. In many ways it could have been better, but it definitely was a more productive season from last year. It doesn't take away from anything."
While the entire organization wanted to see him get 1,000 yards and finish in the lineup, they weren't going to take any risks with his health or long-term future.
"Like we have been talking all along with every player on the roster, we are going to look out for the best interest for that player moving forward," McCoy said. "(With Melvin) not being 100%, or where we think he needed to be to go out there and be Melvin, we decided to make that decision this morning… He was quiet, which was understandable, I think, because he really wanted to come out and help his team. He has been saying that every week; that is why you have seen him work so hard out here, he sees the games and sees some things that happen during games and thinks he can help us win and run the ball efficiently. But give him all the credit in the world for the success he had this year."