When Melvin Gordon collapsed in a heap in Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers last season and was eventually carted off the field with a hip strain, he was just 3 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards for the season. Although he hoped to return before the season ended, Gordon was ultimately sidelined during those last three weeks, his sophomore season cut short by injury—as was his rookie year, when he was forced to undergo season-ending knee surgery.
Things weren’t all bad for Gordon, though. After failing to reach the end zone as a rookie, Gordon rushed for 10 touchdowns in 2016. He also racked up 419 receiving yards. As year three approaches, Gordon’s biggest season yet with the now-L.A. Chargers, the former Wisconsin Badger has ramped up the attention he pays to his body in an effort to stay on the field. Gordon, who recently signed a deal to become an spokesman for EAS Sports Nutrition, has revamped his diet to one rich in protein and has placed an added focus on his recovery.
With a firm goal of breaking 1,000 yards in 2017, Gordon spoke with STACK about his college fling with McDonald’s, winning a ring for Philip Rivers and how he’s getting more explosive.
STACK: Your season ended with injuries two years in a row. Has that altered your training at all this offseason?
Melvin Gordon: The main thing for me is getting my body in the best shape possible, and nutrition is one of the bigger things [to help me do that]. I’ve learned that from the vets, that it’s one of the A-1 things that can keep you on the field. And it’s all about being on the field. That’s how you end up making plays. Everyone is fast, everyone is strong, everyone can play ball. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be drafted. They wouldn’t be on a team. After a couple years, you try and find an edge the right way.
Obviously, better nutrition implies dietary change. How has the food you eat changed since you arrived in the NFL?
Oh man, I used to eat McDonald’s so much in college [laughing]. I used to eat it so much. You want to stay in this league, and you talk to guys that have been here for awhile and they say that nutrition is one of the bigger things. In college it’s a lot harder. It’s really expensive to eat healthy.
What was the go-to meal?
I used to get two McChickens, a large fry, then obviously you gotta get the sweet and sour [sauce]. I used to tear it up.
I’m assuming it’s been a while since you’ve eaten McDonald’s?
It’s been a while. Maybe sometimes I get a cheat meal in, or I’ll just go over there and get a large fry when I want to have a cheat meal. But I really don’t eat it like that [any more]. It’s really not healthy for you at all. You get your cheat meals in, but not too often.
But obviously I work on my nutrition now, and I do stuff like EAS Myoplex and drink SHRED. I need things like that to help me, especially after a workout. We’ve got this new strength coach, and he’s about that action. When you have a new coaching staff, you’re pushing yourself a little harder. You need things to help your body recover.
As you look ahead to the 2017 season, what’s your biggest training focus?
More explosiveness, and be explosive out there. I’m trying to be a playmaker out there and help the team out the best way I can. Obviously we got [Antonio] Gates, we got Phil [Rivers] . . . Father Time is catching up to those guys and they don’t have what most players want, and that’s a ring. Me being more explosive out there, on my cuts and on everything, being a playmaker, can help us in the best way possible.