The 49ers drafted running back Frank Gore in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft, the same year the organization selected quarterback Alex Smith No. 1 overall.
Over a decade and a half later, Gore remains a starting running back in the NFL, and will line up against the 49ers in Week 2 for the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Such longevity is nothing short of extraordinary for tailbacks, a position where players rarely have careers half as long as Gore has put together. As The Athletic’s Matt Barrows pointed out on Twitter earlier this week, Gore’s face doesn’t look to have aged much at all in the 16 years he’s spent in the NFL.
Gore is third all-time in rushing yards (15,371) in NFL history, ranking only behind Emmitt Smith (18,355) and Walter Payton (16,726). Gore also made five Pro Bowls during his 10 seasons with the 49ers, and coach Kyle Shanahan had some very complimentary words for the veteran ahead of Sunday’s game.
“I love Frank Gore,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “I think he is one of the best running backs to ever play. I think he is one of the more underrated running backs to ever play. His longevity and his numbers finally have given him a little more attention that is past due."
With Jets running back Le’Veon Bell going on injured reserve this week, Gore figures to be a focal point of New York's offense on Sunday.
Both the 49ers and Jets ended up taking a loss in Week 1, so Shanahan’s defense will be eager to slow down the 37-year-old.