For some time, former star running back Bo Jackson had apparently been urging Melvin Gordon III to cut off his dreadlocks, though to little success. But Gordon must have become more receptive to it recently, as he arrived at UCHealth Training Center on Monday for media day sporting his new haircut.
"I just needed some change," Gordon said Tuesday. "Bo Jackson has been trying to get me to cut my hair for a while, so I know he's somewhere smiling. I just wanted some change, and I felt it was time. I've been wanting to cut it for a couple years now, but I was kind of nervous and scared to. My dad was pretty [upset] at me. He literally told me that I'll lose the power of Flash if I cut my hair (laughs). He's a little [upset]. It's not in the hair, it's the talent."
That talent was back on the field in a Broncos uniform Tuesday as mandatory minicamp began, and though Gordon's been keeping in shape on his own through the offseason, it was his first time at practice since the end of the 2020 season.
"I was really excited to see Melvin back here," Drew Lock said. "Looks better than ever. Thor is still relevant with him. That's a good room right now. … Coach 'Mod' [Running Backs Coach Curtis Modkins] has got that room extremely dialed and they're going to be an exciting room to watch this year, in my opinion. Melvin is going to have to keep working, taking advantage of every day we have in training camp now, since [he had] a little bit of missed time there, but he came back full steam ahead, and I was excited to see him come back and be able to pick it up so quick."
Entering his seventh season, Gordon still leads the Broncos' running back room. His 986 rushing yards on a 4.6 yard-per-carry average affirm his status as one of the most effective ball-carriers in the league, though the Broncos changed the complexion of the room this offseason through free agency and the draft. After parting ways with Phillip Lindsay, the Broncos signed former Viking Mike Boone, and then drafted Javonte Williams just three picks into the second round.
But those changes won't change the way Gordon approaches his job or his role, he said.
"I'm just going to go out there and just do my job and compete," Gordon said. "Wherever the cards fall, they fall. I can't really worry about that too much. I know that's kind of the talk. The media is making it Javonte versus Melvin — who's going to start, this and that. It's not really about that. It's about us winning football games [and it's] about us competing. I'm going to go out here and do what I need to do as a [running] back. I'm going to go out here and give my everything to this team because that's what this team deserves. … You definitely need two backs. At some point in time, we're going to need him, we're going to need [RB] Royce [Freeman] and we're going to need Boone. It's a tough game and we have an extra game this year. We have to do what we have to do."
Below the Fold
We're still months away from seeing what first-round pick Pat Surtain II can do in live action in an NFL game, but it hasn't taken him long to earn the respect of his coaches and teammates, as ESPN's Jeff Legwold writes. "It isn't that Surtain has simply shown he's skilled, smart and prepared — that's what the Broncos' projected him to be after his three seasons at Alabama — it's that Broncos coach Vic Fangio is already loading him up with information, and Surtain is responding," Legwold wrote.