DENVER -- The likelihood of Melvin Gordon returning to the Broncos in 2021 increased Wednesday as DUI charges were dismissed by the Denver District Attorney due to evidentiary concerns. According to court filings, Gordon pleaded guilty to reckless driving, was fined $479 and ordered to serve 12 hours of community service.
This represents a victory for Gordon, who had pleaded not guilty to his October DUI charge in January. A jury trial was set for April 8 with the knowledge there could be resolution prior to then. Judge Olympia Fay entered the order in Denver County Court. Attorneys Eric Nesbitt and Robert Malen represented Gordon.
With Wednesday's outcome, the NFL can still levy punishment against Gordon – a DUI conviction results in a three-game ban – though it becomes less likely. While the Broncos remain uncertain if the league will discipline Gordon, clarity on the legal issue helps improve his standing on the roster.
Had Gordon been suspended by the league, it would have allowed the Broncos to void guarantees in his contract, making it easier to move on.
In 2021, Gordon is guaranteed $4.5 million with a $2 million bonus for reporting to camp and gameday active roster incentives that bring his salary to roughly $7 million.
Gordon experienced an uneven first season in Denver, but finished strong, leading the team with 986 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. He averaged 4.98 yards per carry over the second half of the season.
Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, both former Pro Bowlers, did not complement each other well last season. Lindsay struggled with injuries and the team did not use him in the passing game, leaving Gordon to take over the No. 1 spot. General manager George Paton said he will tender Lindsay, a restricted free agent, a contract, but he did not say at what level, which could affect potential free agent offers and whether Lindsay returns for a fourth season.
As for Gordon, he was charged with a DUI and speeding 71 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone on Oct. 14. Gordon initially appeared virtually in court on Dec. 14 and the trial was continued, allowing him to play out the remainder of the season with the Broncos.
Gordon, who turns 28 in April, signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Broncos last spring with $13.5 million guaranteed.
Two weeks after his arrest in October, Gordon apologized during a Zoom presser with the local media.
"I am sorry I was even in the situation. I don't want people to feel like 'Oh, because Melvin didn't say anything or he didn't speak on it, he just don't care, he's not apologetic about the situation.' That's not the case at all. Obviously, I try to do my best to walk a straight line and lead by example, things like that. I'm a little upset I even put myself in that situation.
"I had a hard time just dealing with it myself, like I said, never been in trouble before. ... To the people of Denver and everyone, I don't want anyone to feel like I just don't care, like 'Oh he got his money, he don't care.' I do (care), I do. I'm not happy I was in the situation.