Frank Gore’s legendary career came to an end earlier this month, and we heard plenty of amazing stories about his longevity when it did. Perhaps the most amazing part about that longevity may have happened last season, the first in which Gore didn’t play since 2004.
In an interview with KNBR on Friday, Gore was talking about how he didn’t get the itch to return to the field when he was on the sidelines during a game. And he also threw in a bit that made my jaw drop.
“When I went to the Rams [game], when [the 49ers] played the Rams, I didn’t have no type of itch. I thought I would when I was on the sidelines. I really don’t. I really don’t miss it yet. I had my opportunities to play last year. Three teams called. When I knew I was going back and forth, should I do it or not, that’s when I knew I didn’t really want to do it because I never went back and forth when I wanted to play the game of football. That was the first time that happened.”
If that doesn’t speak to the incredible respect and admiration that Frank Gore has earned throughout his career, nothing does. Not one, not two, but three different NFL teams called then-38-year-old Frank Gore to come and play for them last season.
Out of curiosity, I went back and checked if Gore would have been the oldest running back to play in a regular-season game in NFL history. He would have been either first or second depending on how you look at things. Jim Thorpe played at age 41 for the Chicago Cardinals in 1928. After that, it’s a matter of semantics. Lorenzo Neal suited up for the Ravens in 2008 at the age of 38 but’s he technically a fullback, so I’m not sure that counts.
Regardless, the fact that multiple NFL GMs thought Frank Gore on his last legs was a better option than other free agent running backs on the market shows what an incredible player he was.
Make sure you follow the Niners Nation Podcast Network now! Our daily 49ers in Five podcast gives you the latest news, the most interesting press conference and radio interview clips, and everything else that you need to know - all in less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee.