ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — New Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon has already discovered what he calls the “the biggest difference” between his five seasons with the Chargers and his first on-field work with the Broncos this summer: about 5,200 feet worth of altitude.
“I’m struggling a little bit, I’m struggling a up here little bit with the altitude,” Gordon said after Sunday’s practice. “What I keep hearing is when we play other places, we won’t even get tired so I’m looking forward to that.”
Gordon and Phillip Lindsay have essentially split the plays with the starting offense in camp’s early going. And while Gordon has shown no ill effects when he’s run with the ball in drills, he said he just feels the difference — play to play, practice to practice — right now.
Many players who have come before him have said if they lived somewhere else in the offseason they would often try to return to Denver at least one or two weeks before training camp opened to work out at altitude before the team’s first practice.
“Right now it’s tough, trying to finish downfield, and things like that,” Gordon said. “It’s real dry, I’m trying to drink water every second, lips are dry. That’s the biggest adjustment, working all offseason and coming here and still feeling like you’re not in shape because of the altitude.”
Gordon signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Broncos in the offseason after five years with the Chargers. Broncos coach Vic Fangio has said he has plans to use both Gordon and Lindsay plenty in the team’s offense, but how the two backs split the playing time remains to be seen.
Gordon had one 1,000-yard rushing season with the Chargers to go with another with 997 yards as he had four seasons with at least 41 catches.
“I’m adjusting well with the guys,” Gordon said. ” … The [altitude] is different, but everything else — obviously it’s a change, but you have to be able to adjust, so you just take it as it comes.”