Frank Gore is 34 years old. In running back years, that’s ancient.
34 years old or not, Gore is still seeing major success out on the football field in his 13th NFL season, a season that could be his last.
Believe it or not, Gore could be lacing up his cleats for the final time on Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts take on the Houston Texans.
As one can expect, Gore has learned a lot from the game he loves over the years, and Sports Illustrated recently did a great piece on those lessons, if you will.
Via the SI article mentioned above:
He has had one of the unlikeliest careers in NFL history, having played the last 12 years with two reconstructed knees and two reconstructed shoulders. A cursory check of NFL history does not find a single player who has had major surgery on both knees and both shoulders and played one game. Since the last of the four surgeries, Gore has played 181.
He has not just played; he has excelled. He is the fifth-leading rusher of all time, with 13,858 yards, some 253 yards behind number-four Curtis Martin. He would like to play one more season in 2018, because he feels good and thinks he can be a model for some young running backs. And because he loves playing football. There’s not a big market for 35-year-old running backs who don’t play special teams, but we’ll see. Whether he or not plays in 2018, Gore is a good candidate for the Hall of Fame down the road. Of the 11 leading rushers of all time, Gore is the only active player. The other 10 are all in enshrined in Canton.
So, on the verge of what could be the last game of his career, The MMQB asked Gore to share what he’s learned from a life in football: nine years of youth ball in Miami, four years of high school football in Miami, four years at the University of Miami, and 13 years in the NFL with the Niners and Colts. Thirty years of football. Lots of lessons learned, lots of wounds inflicted and suffered, lots of uncertainty about his mental and physical future, and lots of rewards—financial ones, and life ones.
Here are some highlights from the article:
- “I know what I signed up for,” Gore told me. “I do not regret anything I’ve done. I never, never wish I did not play this game.”
- “After the surgeries, I respected Ronnie Brown, I respected Benson, I respected Cadillac. But I told people, ‘Once I get healthy I WILL NEVER be outrushed by any of those guys. No one in my draft class will ever outrush me again. That second year I proved that.“How I did that … I don’t know. It’s not me. It’s God. God got me here. God and hard work. Respecting the game. Love, man. Love. Love the game. Love my teammates. Every time I get ready to strap up, show the world today that no one is better.”
- “I just want to finish up strong here. Things haven’t gone as well as we hoped. But my plan is to play one more year. I want to play one more. I can help a locker room. I can help a team, just by the way I practice.“But if this is it, if this is my last year, I want everybody in the NFL to say, ‘He was a football player. Period.’”
- “Love the game. Love the game. Perfect your craft, every day. Look at all the guys who everyone says, ‘He’s the best one.’ And be better than they are.“When I came in the league, I was thinking about the best guys. Not the best guys on my team—the best guys in the league. I was thinking about LT [LaDainian Tomlinson], Marshall Faulk, Portis, Larry Johnson … Thinking about how I wanted my name mentioned with them. What can I do to make that happen?”
To read the entire article, make sure to follow this link.
According to ESPN, “Who the quarterback is and how good the offensive line is will be deciding factors on who running back Frank Gore will spend his 14th NFL season with next year.”
The 34-year-old Gore reiterated Wednesday what he has said several times already this season in that he wants to continue his playing career next season.
“Quarterback, O-line, have to be my type of style of team,” he said. “Nasty, physical, punch you in the mouth. I don’t want to finish like this. I know I can still play. I want to help a team.””
Whether Gore returns for another season or not (can you believe it would be his 14th?!), watching him play has been a real treat.
Nine times in his career, he rushed for 1,000-plus yards. This season, he has managed to rack up 861 rushing yards. He has 13,926 total rushing yards and 77 rushing touchdowns. For all it’s worth, he has also recorded 234 receiving yards this season, and he has racked up 3,661 receiving yards during his career … as well as 17 receiving touchdowns. Just last season, he cracked the 1,000-yard mark in the rushing department.
It appears that nothing — not even injuries or age — can hold Gore back.
Via the ESPN article mentioned above:
Gore has run through defenses to move ahead of four Hall of Fame running backs to fifth on the NFL’s career rushing list this season. He said opposing players and coaches, including Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin and Tennessee defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, have sought him out after games to praise him for still being able to produce at his age. Gore has the chance to pass Curtis Martin, who is 175 yards ahead of Gore, for fourth on the career rushing list next season.
Needless to say, Gore has had an amazing career, and it would not be a surprise if he tore up NFL defenses in the 2018 season — if he decides to return, of course.
Just in case, all eyes should be glued to the TV screen on Sunday to witness the greatness that is Frank Gore.