The Colts have played 31 seasons in Indianapolis and have seen some terrific running backs play for the franchise, such as Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk and another player who will likely eventually get in the Hall of Fame in Edgerrin James. For all of the success that running backs have had in Indy, however, the Colts don't have a history of them doing so when they're older.
In fact, only twice has the Colts' leading rusher for a season been over 30 years old: Eric Dickerson led the team in rushing in both 1990 (when he was 30) and in 1991 (when he was 31), and even then he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry (his career average is 4.8 yards per carry). That's it. Just two seasons in 31 that their leading rusher has been over 30 years old. If you take the average age of the 31 leading rushers for the Colts in their years in Indy, it comes out to 24.9 years old.
Enter Frank Gore. Signed by the Colts this offseason after spending ten years with the 49ers, Gore turned 32 just a few days ago. And according to PhillyVoice's Jimmy Kempski, he is the oldest projected starting running back in the NFL for 2015.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">NFL projected starting RBs, ranked by age: <a href="http://t.co/nssekrz87L">pic.twitter.com/nssekrz87L</a></p>— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyKempski/status/599541101964460032">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
You've likely heard the talk this offseason about how the Colts got a lot older in free agency, and offensively that was true with the additions of Gore and wide receiver Andre Johnson. And it's certainly a legitimate concern to raise about running backs over the age of 30, as historically they have declined in productivity.
But consider also that the Colts got better. Gore is a clear upgrade at running back, and a 32 year old Gore is clearly better than a 25 year old Trent Richardson. The Colts needed a starting running back, and they found one in Frank Gore. Furthermore, he has topped 1,000 yards rushing in eight of the past nine seasons, showing that he's still producing, as recently as last year for the 49ers when he was 31. So while age can be a huge factor for a running back and Gore is projected to be the oldest starter at the position in the NFL, it can still be considered a good signing for the team, and there's still plenty of reason to hope and think that it will work out.
And if Frank Gore can lead the Colts in rushing in 2015 (which should be expected), he'll be the oldest player to ever do so wearing an Indianapolis Colts uniform and the first one older than 27 years old to do so since 1991.