Frank Gore had a full career in a decade with the 49ers, and he arguably has had one in the five seasons since.
Gore's 11,073 rushing yards with San Francisco are nearly 4,000 clear of the next closest running back (Joe Perry) in franchise history. Add that with Gore's 4,274 yards since leaving the 49ers in 2014, and only Walter Payton and Emmit Smith are ahead of Gore on the NFL's all-time rushing list.
Still, there aren't many 37-year-old running backs playing these days. His age makes Gore, who signed with the New York Jets this offseason, a modern anomaly. That doesn't mean he contemplated retirement after spending his 15th NFL season with the Buffalo Bills in 2019.
"I didn't," Gore said on a Zoom call with reporters covering the Jets on Thursday. "I didn't because when I was playing, like the first six or seven games, I was ballin'. I was ballin'. Once Buffalo went and started playing younger guys, I felt like I still could do it. I just had to see what team would give me the opportunity."
Gore rushed 86 times for 388 yards (4.51 per carry) during the first six games of 2019, getting at least 10 carries in each game. He rushed the ball 80 times in his next nine games, averaging just 2.64 yards per attempt and toting the rock 10-plus times in just four games down the stretch.
Before ultimately deciding to reunite with coach Adam Gase, who convinced Gore to join his hometown Miami Dolphins in 2018, the running back consulted someone close to him about returning: His son, Frank Jr., incoming freshman running back at Southern Mississippi.
"I asked my son what he think I should do, my older son, and he's gonna be in college this year," Gore recalled. "He was like, 'Dad, I think you can go one more.' So I said, 'Alright, I'm gonna go.' "
If this is indeed Gore's last season, he'll get (at least) one more chance to play against the 49ers. The Niners are scheduled to visit the Jets in Week 2 at MetLife Stadium.
That's a big if, though.
"I don't think about that," Gore said when asked how much more he has left in the tank. "I've taken it one day at a time, one year at a time."
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