Even when Frank Gore is a geriatric, it sounds like New York Jets head coach Adam Gase believes the 16-year veteran can still take the ball in the backfield and make a play or two.
The 37-year old Gore, third all-time in the NFL with 15,347 rushing yards, was one of the Jets understated signings this offseason. Despite a series of accomplishments that will someday send him to get a gold jacket in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Gore wasn’t necessarily seen as a huge addition to the team. This is somewhat understandable, given that the Jets have a two-time All-Pro running back in Le’Veon Bell in his prime and drafted a promising rookie this past April, La’Mical Perine.
“He looks the same as he did 12 years ago, I can’t explain it. It’s unbelievable how, when I watch him, I flash back to 2008. He looks the same,” Gase said on Wednesday in his virtual press conference.
“I don’t know how; it doesn’t make sense. Frank has been one who refuses to listen to what anybody else says. When he goes out there, he is an old school football player. He looks good, his burst looks good. His vision is never to change. It’s going to look like that when he’s 60. Frank is special. There’s a reason why he is third all-time in rushing.”
Gore could well be the Tom Brady of running backs. While the two players ahead of him on the all-time rushing list, Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton, played well into their 30s, it isn’t inconceivable to think that Gore could make a serious run at playing until he is 40-years old.
Given the physical toll a running back takes, that would be a huge, physical accomplishment. He has over 3,500 rushing attempts, amounting to a huge amount of hits he’s taken in his life.
That says nothing about the 468 receptions and ensuing tackles that he has endured as well as blocks, cheap shots as well as general wear and tear.
“I would never put any ceiling on Frank. I’ll just say this – I’m glad he’s here, I’m glad I’m lucky enough to be around him - again, for a third time with a third different team,” Gase said.
“Just watching him and Le’Veon work together is a cool thing for me to see. I really love how he always has a young guy in his room. To see how Perine works with him, Frank tries to guide him to do things the right way. I mean, Frank has a son who is two years younger than Perine. Frank is special, there’s nobody like him.”
Last year with the Buffalo Bills, Gore had 599 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The 3.6 yards per carry was the lowest of his 15-year career.
The addition of Gore comes at a good time for the Jets as Bell was pulled from Wednesday’s scrimmage with an injury concern that Gase said was the running back getting “a little tight.” The Jets head coach called it precautionary due to it being a soft tissue issue.
“When I revisit with the trainers, I’ll have a better idea. I know right now, it’s precaution,” Gase said.
“He hadn’t been somebody who’d come out of practice. Like, I’d always have to hold him and be like ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go.’ But he’ll try to go back out there. So that’s why we pulled him. He won’t do it on his own. He’ll keep going out there until somebody else pulls him out.”