DENVER — Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III is in position to play out the final three games of the season after his plea setting on a DUI charge was continued until Jan. 14 by Denver County Court Judge Olympia Fay.
His plea had been set for Monday morning. During a virtual hearing that 9News observed, Gordon’s attorney Robert Malen told the court he had been discussing “significant mitigation and exculpatory evidence” with the Denver District Attorney’s Office and wished to continue those talks.
Denver Deputy District Attorney Mary Krenzen and Judge Fay agreed to postpone to a new plea setting next month. Barring a negotiated plea before his January 14 court appearance, Gordon will be able to play out the Broncos' final three games.
“We're proceeding as business as usual,'' Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said of Gordon's availability. "The status hasn't changed up to this point. So, until that happens, it's just business as usual with Melvin.”
If Gordon’s attorneys, Malen and Eric Nesbitt, and the District Attorney’s Office had agreed to a plea on Monday, it would have likely triggered a three-game suspension from the NFL office.
According to the new collective bargaining agreement between the league and players union, punishment for DUI-related incidents under its substance abuse police results in a three-game suspension, up from two games last year.
It’s possible that Gordon will now serve his three-game suspension to begin the 2021 season – unless his attorney’s evidence can bring about a result other than a plea.
Gordon was arrested late on the night of Oct. 13 on suspicion of driving under the influence and going 71 mph in a 35 mph zone. He did not take a breathalyzer, opting instead for a field sobriety test which didn't satisfy the officers at the scene.
For competitive reasons, it made sense for Gordon to serve his suspension while the Broncos are 5-8 heading into the final three weeks of this season, rather than with a clean 0-0 mark at the start of a new season.
Then again, Gordon has been a hot back of late, rushing for a combined 199 yards on 28 carries – a hefty 7.1-yard average – in his last two games.
Gordon is making $9 million this year, although only $1 million is in base salary. He is scheduled to make $7 million next year, with $4.5 million allocated from salary. The Broncos have the right to void Gordon’s guarantees for next season, although it’s not known whether they would do so.
Gordon ranks 12th in the league with 753 yards rushing and has an outside chance of reaching the 1,000-yard milestone for the second time in his career. He rushed for 1,105 yards in 2017 with the Chargers and just missed with 997 yards in 2016.
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