Frank Gore has signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets. Gore, who turns 37 next week, has played 15 seasons for four teams. He is third in NFL history with 15,347 rushing yards. He is also on the verge of becoming the oldest running back in modern NFL history.
For a little perspective, fullback Tony Richardson rushed for 13 yards at age 39. Lorenzo Neal had 25 yards at 38. Jim Thorpe appears to have scored two rushing touchdowns for the Canton Bulldogs in 1926 at the age of 39. As you can see, running backs are not meant to last this long. The most impressive numbers Gore has a chance to top next season are the 505 yards and 11 touchdowns that Marcus Allen had in his final season at 37 years old. Other than that, just stepping on the field at his age as something other than a quarterback, kicker, or coach will be impressive.
Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, played until he was 35. In his final season he ran for 937 yards to push his career total to 18,355. That number is out of reach unless Gore can play into his early 40's. However, Walter Payton is less than 1,400 yards ahead of Gore right now in second. We cannot rule that out, even as players literally half Gore's age prepare to enter the NFL over the next couple seasons. You know, like his son, Frank Gore Jr. who will be a freshman at Southern Miss.
The number of players who have come and gone during is incredible. Just know that he and Clinton Portis played on the 2001 Miami Hurricanes together. As was Ed Reed, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame two years ago.
Here's to another decade of Frank Gore. Though that means his son will have to play in the NFL until about 2050 to finally get bragging rights over dad.