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How Gase’s 49ers history with Gore brought him to Jets

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Frank Gore will be back in his usual spot Sunday when he goes up against his former team.

"Yes," New York Jets coach Adam Gase said on a conference call Wednesday morning. "He’ll be the starter."

Gore, 37, played his first 10 seasons with the 49ers. The 16-year professional is the franchise's all-time leading rusher. And he will make his 206th NFL start on Sunday when the Jets take on the 49ers.

Gore gets the start after the Jets this week placed Le’Veon Bell on injured reserve this week with a hamstring injury.

"I know you guys, anybody who was there with him before, will believe when I say this: He looks the same," Gase said of Gore.

"It’s unreal to watch. This is my third stint with him. He’s the same Frank. He shows up. Works hard. Practices hard. You can tell he just loves the game so much."

Gase, then 30, was an assistant under offensive coordinator Mike Martz for the 49ers in 2008. Mike Nolan was fired as head coach after seven games and replaced by Mike Singletary.

Gore was in his fourth NFL season. He rushed for 1,036 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games that season. Gore also caught 43 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns.

"I just remember watching him practice," Gase said. "But then just seeing him how much time he spent in the building when everybody else was gone. He wanted to always make sure he knew exactly what he was supposed to do in protection, in his route-running, in his run reads.


"He was always spending extra time trying to make sure he knew everyting that was going on so when Sunday came, no one was ever saying, ‘Ah, if Frank would’ve done this ... ‘ He just would not allow that happen. He wanted to be the guy that we relied on when it got really tough. He wanted to make sure the ball was coming to him."

After Gore played three seasons in Indianapolis following his 10 years with the 49ers, Gase brought him to the Miami Dolphins in 2018. Gore averaged 4.6 yards per carry that season -- his highest average since a 4.7 average with the 49ers in 2012.

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Now, Gore and Gase are back together. Gore, signed to be Bell’s backup, gained 24 yards on six attempts in the Jets’ season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Gore is the NFL’s No. 3 all-time leading rusher with 15,371 yards -- behind only Emmitt Smith (18,355) and Walter Payton (16,726). Gore’s 4.3-yard average per carry is better than Smith (4.2) and a shade lower than Payton (4.4).