All good things must come to an end. Outkast broke up, Daniel Day Lewis retired and Frank Gore may stop playing in the NFL. Gore, who will be 38 in May, said he was undecided on whether he wanted to continue his career next season, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
Despite his age, Gore continues to get steady work in backfields. Though he hasn’t been a full-time starter the past three seasons, he averaged nearly 170 carries per year. Over that period, Gore has rushed for 1,974 yards and four touchdowns. He’s not the same player he was during his prime, but he can still pick up tough yards when called on.
But his age is getting tough to ignore. Few running backs play well in their early 30s. The fact that Gore is still getting carries as he inches toward 40 is a testament to his durability and willingness to keep going.
While that’s admirable, 38-year-old running backs aren’t exactly coveted by teams. Gore knows that’s the case, and admitted as much to the Associated Press in December. Even if Gore gives it a shot in 2021, his market won’t be robust.
Gore has shown a willingness to work as a backup, and that could help as he looks for jobs. And if he can’t find one, he’ll almost certainly be considered once a team experiences a significant injury during the preseason.
Frank Gore will leave NFL as a Hall of Famer
Whenever Gore decides to walk away, he’ll leave behind a Hall of Fame career. In 16 seasons, Gore has rushed for 16,000 yards, which ranks third all time. Only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton have gained more than Gore over their careers.
While Gore never made an All-Pro team, his place on the all-time rushing list basically guarantees he’ll be enshrined in Canton. Gore and Adrian Peterson — who ranks sixth — are the only players in the top-16 of the all-time rushing list who aren’t in the Hall of Fame. Like Gore, Peterson is still active, and is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame once he retires.
If Gore comes back in 2021, it won’t be to add to his Hall of Fame numbers. He’ll do it because he loves playing football.
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