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Melvin Gordon still wants to play, but knows market is tough for running backs in 2023

Add Melvin Gordon to the list of running backs waiting out the market and hoping for a break.

Gordon remains unemployed as the calendar nears July, and unlike the trio of other notable running backs awaiting an opportunity, one might not arrive at the veteran's door. The 30-year-old spent the last three seasons in Denver but appeared in just 10 games in 2022, rushing 90 times for 318 yards and two touchdowns. He joined Kansas City's practice squad late in the 2022 season and received his first Super Bowl ring, despite not having played a down in a game for the team.

Gordon crossed the dreaded 30-year-old mark in April and might not have many -- if any -- suitors in 2023. Still, though, Gordon wants to give it another go, if a team will have him.

"I still want to play. I still got some tread left on the tires," Gordon said during an appearance on The Jim Rome Show. "(Chiefs) coach (Andy) Reid kind of sat me down and he told me, 'You still can play.' It's about the right situation.

"It's so tough for running backs right now, man. You have a lot of running backs that's out there and we just don't get no love. It's literally the worst position to play in the NFL right now. It literally sucks. I'm just staying ready because I know what I can do. I know once I get in camp or any camp, I can turn some heads. I know what I need to do. I know my mistakes that I've made and you have to be able to correct them, but I'm ready to go.

"I'm just staying ready -- it's hard, though. It's hard training knowing that you're not gonna be on a team. It's tough mentally. But I talked to some players that went through it and I'm just taking their advice, being a sponge, and it kind of helps you get through it."

Gordon deserves credit for remaining prepared for a call from a team that may end up needing a running back, but there's little else he can do than just that. With the likes of Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott and Kareem Hunt still available, Gordon might find himself at the end of the line.

For now, all Gordon is able to control is his outlook. He's also not shying away from the unfortunate reality of the running back position, which has seen its market enter a freefall in 2023.

"In my opinion, I think after Todd (Gurley) got paid and then (Rams coach) Sean McVay came out and said, 'I will never pay a running back again; I'll just use them and rotate them out,' I think after that statement was made -- and then I think they won the Super Bowl -- it was like everybody just followed suit, I think," Gordon said. "I kind of think that's where everything just started going downhill.

"As you can tell, you have your exceptional backs. You have Josh Jacobs, you have Saquon (Barkley) and those boys just did their thing. They got tagged, so hopefully they do get paid. Hopefully the teams tagged them just to have more time to try to figure out a number that works. You'd like to think that they didn't tag them just to keep the number down, but I even heard comments about wanting Joe Mixon to take a cut. It's just like, those are the top backs right now, and it's just sad."

Running back has never been valued less than it is right now, and it's easy to see in both the number of quality players still available, and the deflated contracts those who are lucky enough to be employed received this offseason. Gordon seems to be aware of his decreasing chances of finding a place to play in 2023, but he isn't giving up hope. After all, it only takes an unfortunate injury or two to motivate a team to pick up the phone.

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