It began to rain, then it got muggy, and it ended with the heat of the sun shining down on Jack Hammett Sports Complex, where the Chargers’ 2019 training camp officially opened for business.
What many thought was going to be a typically quiet Chargers offseason has been anything but. Thursday running back Melvin Gordon made good on his promise, opting to hold out for a new deal.
“Melvin is not here,” explained head coach Anthony Lynn. “We don’t like to talk about players who aren’t here. We understand his situation. We love Melvin. We are a good football team with Melvin, but he is not here.”
The absence of Gordon means that running backs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson will get the bulk of the reps until the Wisconsin product makes his return.
“They’re going to get a lot of work,” said quarterback Philip Rivers, “It certainly is a deep position for us, and those guys all love to play and work hard. We love Melvin, but we’re going to go with what we’ve got. It’s a pretty dang good group.”
Last season without Gordon on the field due to injury the team went 4-0, but that doesn’t mean his replacements picked up all the slack. In the 12 games he played last season the team rushed for 128 yards per game, but without him they only rushed for 84.
Gordon wasn’t the only notable player missing from the first day of camp. Left tackle Russell Okung announced on Twitter that on June 1st he was rushed to the hospital where he learned that blood clots caused him to suffer a Pulmonary Embolism. Okung was optimistic in the post, saying, “As soon as doctors clear me, my plans include blocking #17’s blind side all the way to Miami.”
The Bolts are coming off a 12-4 season, including impressive wins like the comeback against Pittsburgh and Kansas City. It was a year of growth the team hopes to build on heading into the 2019 season.
“I’ve seen teams go 13-3 and the next year win four games,” said cornerback Casey Hayward. “We’ve kind of got to lock ourselves in and know that it was last year. We’ve got to figure out a way to get over the hump and be a great team, and that’s winning those playoff games, winning the division and trying to get to the Super Bowl.”
Nuts n’ Bolts
• Today rookie quarterback Easton Stick made some impressive throws and rookie receiver Jason Moore made some impressive catches.
• Okung will be out for some time so Coach Lynn said the team will use both Sam Tevi and Trent Scott at left tackle. The team is easing rookie third round pick Trey Pipkins into the offense.
• The Chargers placed running back Melvin Gordon on the did not report list and signed running back Derrick Gore to the active roster.