Sunday’s match between the Chargers and Dolphins will be fierce within the trenches as it will feature two of the league’s hottest running backs in Melvin Gordon and Jay Ajayi.
The pair has become close friends ever since they trained together in Carlsbad prior to the 2015 NFL Draft. Describing themselves as “brothers,” the duo regularly talk and shout each other out on social media.
“I look at him as a brother and it’s going to be fun going up against him this weekend,” Ajayi said. “We talked yesterday and we talk quite often. It’s going to be fun; I can’t wait…. We’re just constantly trying to push each other to be great. We’re competing with each other because we play the same position, but we just want to see each other succeed at the end of the day.”
“It’s always good to have a (friend) on the offensive side of the ball,” Gordon added. “It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m glad that he’s having success.”
Gordon said their training continued together this past summer when he stayed with Ajayi in Florida and the pair visited Ajayi’s native London together. Ajayi admits after seeing first-hand how Gordon hunkered down in the offseason to rehab and refine his technique, he isn’t surprised at the back’s success this season at all.
“I’m always checking on Melvin every week just to see how he does,” Ajayi said. “I’m so proud of him to come back from last year where he wasn’t able to score a touchdown and (some) people were starting to write him off a little bit. Through talking with him through the offseason and everything, he really put his head down and did a lot of things to set himself up for a great year. He’s starting to showcase the ability everyone knew he had and it’s exciting to see how well he’s been doing.”
While they’re thick friends, on Sunday they’ll become foes. Both admit how special Sunday means to the two of them, especially since they’ll get to play against each other for a second-straight year. Having both experienced some sort of adversity through their rookie seasons, Sunday’s game will be the pair’s chance to prove 2015 is a thing of the past.
“We both wanted to be in the positions that we’re in now where we have a chance to show people how good we are,” mentioned Gordon. “It’s kind of awesome that we get to go up against each other. We’re both competitive and still close, but it’s an amazing opportunity and I’m glad that we get the chance to be a part of it.”
Hayley Elwood | chargers.com | November 10, 2016