No one would really bat an eye if Frank Gore decided to walk away from the NFL this offseason and fade off into the sunset toward retirement. After all, the veteran running back just turned 38 and has played 16 years in the league. That said, Gore believes he still has fuel left in the tank to go forward into what would be his 17th NFL season. For him to actually decide to pursue playing in 2021, however, the fit needs to be right for the unrestricted free agent.
“I know that I can still play the game, I know I can help a team,” Gore recently told KNBR’s “Murph and Mac.” “But it’s also got to be the right situation that I feel that I can be on a team that could go to the playoffs and get a chance to probably go to the Super Bowl. I know that I can still play the game of football, but I also want to be in the right situation on the right team.”
With the Jets last season, Gore still proved to be a valuable piece coming out of the backfield. He rushed for 653 yards and two touchdowns on 3.5 yards per carry and added 16 receptions for 89 yards. While he may not be the feature back we remember him as during his days with the 49ers, he can still help a club move the chains in a complementary role. Speaking of San Francisco, he was asked if a return to the Bay Area was possibly in the cards, but Gore seemed pessimistic of that possibility, pointing to the club already adding younger backs earlier this offseason.
When it comes to that next landing spot, Gore will simply assess his options once training camp rolls around and if nothing meets the standards to which he’s set, he could elect to retire.
“I talked to a couple teams, but my agent told me not to put any teams’ names out there. I kind of want to wait to training camp,” he said. “I want to feel that. I want to wait to see if it’s the right situation for me… If a team calls and I feel like it’s right, I’ma do it. But if I don’t like the situation, I’ll say forget it and I’ll retire… If I don’t feel like it’s the right situation, I’ll retire.”
Meanwhile, if Gore does play in 2021, he’ll have a chance at some NFL history. No running back has ever even recorded a carry at the age of 38 (dating back to when records were kept beginning in 1950). If he rushes for over 153 yards, Gore would also claim the rushing record for any player at age 38.