All indications are that Melvin Gordon and the Los Angeles Chargers remain at a stalemate. The sides have made virtually no progress toward a new contract agreement since the Pro Bowl running back began his holdout from team activities in late July, and the Chargers still seem completely unwilling to honor his trade request. As the regular season fast approaches, it looks increasingly likely that Gordon will continue holding out, leaving Los Angeles to go a different direction at running back.

In his latest projection of the Chargers' 53-man roster, though, ESPN's Eric Williams writes that he expects Gordon to report back to the team before Week 1. Why? As he later indicated on Twitter, Williams' belief that Gordon will play for Los Angeles against the Indianapolis Colts on September 8 is based on nothing but a “hunch.”

Chargers management, it bears reminding, has been adamant throughout the offseason that Gordon is a valued member of their team and organization. General manager Steve Telasco even said two weeks ago that despite Gordon having missed all of training camp and given no indication he’s willing to rescind his trade demand, Los Angeles still views him as its starting running back.

A first-round pick in 2015, Gordon averaged a career-best 5.1 yards per carry last season en route to 885 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, also adding 50 catches for 490 yards and four scores despite being limited to 12 games due to injury. The 26-year-old will be a free agent next season if he doesn’t sign a new contract.

Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson figure to split time in the backfield this season should Gordon elect against returning.