Although running backs are largely viewed as short-term commodities in the NFL, Melvin Gordon believes differently.
The Los Angeles Chargers rusher, who's currently holding out for a new deal, cites Ezekiel Elliott's six-game absence from the Dallas Cowboys in 2017 as a prime example of a running back's true value.
"Clearly, you seen what happened when Zeke was out. It was a completely different team," Gordon said Saturday, according to ProFootballTalk's Charean Williams. "You can replace average backs. Yeah, just plug them in. But a great back? You can't just replace a great back. ... It will be a difference, man. We do so much for people to even try to devalue us. We block. We've got to run the ball. We've got to pick up protections. We have to catch the ball. We have to do what receivers do. We have to do our thing. We have so much that goes through us.
"I tell people (running back is) the hardest position outside of quarterback ... That's the only position (that's harder) because you have to know so much. Outside of that, running back is the next hardest position on the field, and we should get paid as such."
Although Gordon has reportedly turned down extension offers from the Chargers, he expressed interest in remaining with the team.
Gordon's agent said there's a "strong possibility" the running back could sit out into the regular season if a satisfying outcome isn't reached. In such a scenario, L.A. would likely turn to backs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, who saw increased workloads in Gordon's four-game injury absence last year.
The two-time Pro Bowler had 1,375 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns in 2018.