There is a fascinating symmetry about NFL running back Frank Gore’s career.
He has played 16 seasons in the league – unusual longevity for a player at that position – and he has rushed for 16,000 yards. That’s 1,000 yards a year, terrific production in a rockem-sockem job where a single 1,000-yard season is regarded as a major accomplishment.
Gore’s total rushing yardage is third on the all-time list, trailing only Emmitt Smith (18,355) and Walter Payton (16,726). There are some great runners behind him like Barry Sanders, Tony Dorsett, Jerome Bettis, Eric Dickerson and Jim Brown.
Gore is fourth in scrimmage yards (19,985) and his 241 games played are the most for any running back in NFL history. It would have been 242 but Gore sat out the final game of the New York Jets season because of a bruised lung. At age 37, he still led the team in rushing with 653 yards.
He has gained over 500 yards rushing every year he has been in the league, an NFL record for rushing consistency. There was a stretch of nine 1,00-yard seasons over 11 years from 2006, his second year in the league, to 2017. He has also been a skilled receiver out of the backfield with 484 career receptions for 3,985 yards.
What is remarkable about Gore is he ever got to the NFL in the first place.
Playing college ball at Miami, he suffered two different ACL tears in his left knee. That set off alarms with NFL scouts. San Francisco took a chance, picking him in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft.
The gamble paid off with Gore playing with the 49ers until 2014 and becoming the team’s all-time rushing leader. There were three years with the Indianapolis Colts and one each with the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills before signing on with the Jets.
He was an important element in the Jets clubhouse on a woebegone team, imported by coach Adam Gase for his leadership skills and football wisdom.
Gase is gone now and now at age 37, Gore must decide whether to continue this football odyssey. The 16,000 yards rushing is a nice round number to retire on but he may want to continue if the right situation presents itself. There is another factor. Sixteen more catches would give him 500 and 15 more receiving yards would give him 4,000, two more nice round numbers.