For the first ten seasons of his NFL career, running back Frank Gore played for the San Francisco 49ers, compiling quite a resume - 164 games played, 11,073 yards rushing, 64 touchdowns, five Pro Bowls, two 49ers team MVP awards, and an NFC Championship in the 2012 season. He has been one of the league's best backs over the past decade and will generate some discussion for the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.
And this offseason, he moved on from the 49ers (actually, more like the 49ers moved on from him) and signed with the Indianapolis Colts to chase the biggest thing missing from his resume: a Super Bowl ring. And so far, he's adjusting well to his new team.
"It's great," Gore told members of the media last Wednesday after one of the team's OTA sessions. "I love it here. I like the locker room. I like the coaches. We've [had] great practices. We just have to get better."
Of course, there's plenty of reason for excitement for both the Colts and for Gore. For the Colts, they haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Joseph Addai in 2007, marking a current seven-year run without a player reaching that mark. Frank Gore has topped 1,000 yards in eight of his ten seasons, including each of the last four. Gore presents a massive upgrade over Trent Richardson, but not only that, he stands a good chance to be the first Colts back since 2007 to reach the century mark in rushing.
For Gore, he joins a team with clear Super Bowl expectations, something that was obviously important to him as he nears the end of his career. Not only that, but Gore joins an offense loaded with weapons, as the team has Andrew Luck at quarterback, T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, and Phillip Dorsett at wide receiver, and Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen at tight end, as well as Boom Herron, Josh Robinson, and Vick Ballard as backup running backs. It's a very talented unit that could be the NFL's best in 2015 (particularly in the passing game), and that's something that will help Gore out. No player in the league had more carries with eight or more men in the box than Gore did in 2014, something that is almost sure not to happen in 2015 with the Colts' passing targets. Facing less men in the box because of Andrew Luck and the passing offense, Gore could stand to have more success with the Colts this season.
In short, there are a lot of expectations for the Colts in 2015, particularly on the offensive side of the football. They're the AFC favorites and one of the hottest picks (though still very early) to make the Super Bowl. That's a lot to live up to, and Gore knows it.
"It's going to be tough," he conceded. "I feel that every year when you get better and better, every year it gets tougher and tougher. You can't listen to when they're saying, ‘You're the Super Bowl favorite. If you don't go to the Super Bowl then it's a bust.' You just have to take one day at a time, keep working together, try to get better as a crew, as a team, and just try to win games."