BUFFALO, NY — What Frank Gore has accomplished in his NFL career has been simply amazing.
Gore, who is only the second running back in NFL history to start at least 200 games, overcame two ACL tears in college to not only make the NFL, but become the ultimate example of durability at a position who’s participants have a notoriously short shelf-life.
Now, in his 15th NFL season and first with the Buffalo Bills, Gore currently sits just 133 yards behind Barry Sanders for third on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, and 193 yards behind Steve Smith for the eighth most all-purpose yards in league history. The only players in the top nine in the latter category who never returned kicks are Gore, Jerry Rice, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.
Despite reaching a new milestone seemingly every week now, records aren’t something Gore is really thinking about.
“No, I’m just happy to be playing, blessed,” Gore said “I just go out there and have fun with my teammates. If I’m healthy and feeling good and my number gets called on the field I’ll get a chance to reach them, but what I’m happy about is I’m on a team that has a bunch of guys just like me. Physical, tough, play the game the right way. I think our team is an old school team, and I’m happy to be on this team.”
Even at age 36, Gore’s number has been called frequently by the Bills, as he leads the team in carries (86) and rushing yards (388). If Gore maintains his current pace, he’ll finish with over 1,000 yards on the ground for the 10th time in his career, and fourth time since he turned 30-years old. Gore has led his team in rushing every year of his career to this point.
While he’s currently showing no signs of slowing down, Gore has said when the time does come, he would retire as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, which is an organization that still means so much to him to this day.
“It’s everything. It was the first given opportunity to be able to play this game at the highest level. Even though I was coming off two ACLs they still took a chance and they got beat up by taking me with the first pick in the third round.”
While Gore has played elsewhere for the last five seasons, he understands football is a business and still considers the 49ers like family.
“I still talk to Jed (York), talk to Paraag (Marathe), I still talk to Scot McCloughan. I played 10 years there. I was blessed to play 10, and I know the business of it but I respect Jed. He let his guys make the decision on whether to bring me back and I respect it. Like I said, his mom calls me, his dad texts me here and there. It’s like a family over there.”
It’s safe to say the 49ers and their fans feel the same way about Gore, who will always be one of the most beloved players to wear the red and gold. Whenever his football journey does end, it will without a doubt go down as one of the most accomplished careers of any running back the game has ever seen.