If the 2019 NFL season has taught us anything through its first four weeks, it’s that change is inevitable. Andrew Luck announced his retirement before the season even began. Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees are sidelined with injuries, and new quarterbacks are under center in New York and Washington.
But as uncertain as today’s NFL has become, there are still some players who continue to defy Father Time, able to withstand the inconsistency and refuse to be left out of the record books.
On Sunday, that player was Frank Gore.
Gore, who has been the picture of consistency during his lengthy 15-year career, became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 15,000 yards during Buffalo’s 16–10 AFC East loss to the Patriots. The former 49ers running back and current Bills workhorse clinched the milestone on a 41-yard gain up the middle and finished the game with 109 yards on 17 carries. He was 88 yards shy of the mark entering the game.
Gore’s addition to the 15,000-yard club put him in elite company. He now only trails Hall-of-Famers Emmitt Smith (18,355), Walter Payton (16,726) and Barry Sanders (15,269) on the league’s all-time rushing list, and he’ll likely pass Sanders later this season.
Very few running backs have been able to achieve what Gore has at 36, and even fewer have been able to do it the way he has. There’s something special about the way Gore has gone about taking care of his business, playing for four different franchises and emerging as the team’s leading rusher in every single one of his 14 completed pro seasons. He’s eclipsed 1,000 yards in nine of them and 900 in another two. He helped San Francisco advance to three straight NFC championship games and in 2012 played a huge role as the team earned its first NFC title since 1994.
The team success may have stalled in Indianapolis and Miami, but Gore himself was no different, keeping up his productivity despite the teams’ struggles. He rushed for 967, 1,025 and 961 yards, respectively, during his three seasons with the Colts. He averaged a team-high 4.6 yards per carry for the Dolphins in 2018. He was a key veteran presence, a respected and valued teammate and a perfect example of work ethic and commitment.
And as he tries to cement his legacy with the 3–1 Bills this season, Gore will continue to be exactly that. Regardless of the year and regardless of the circumstances that surround him, the Bills can trust that Gore will remain a certainty. That he’ll put up the numbers when they need him most.
That he’ll keep on running, all the way to Canton.
Question or comment? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.