Frank Gore is 34 years old and entering his 13th season in the NFL, but he’s coming off of a 1,000+ yard rushing season nonetheless.
That’s not expected for someone his age: he became the oldest player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since John Riggins did it in 1984 - and just the fourth player ever age 33 or older to do so.
His statistical accomplishments are many, and they almost certainly will land him a spot in Canton, Ohio one day in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For now, however, Gore is focusing on his 13th season and his third with the Colts, and in the background looms this: Gore is within distance of moving into the top five all-time in rushing yards this season.
Gore currently sits at 13,065 career rushing yards, good for eighth all-time. But he’s just 194 yards away from Eric Dickerson in seventh place, just 597 yards away from Jerome Bettis in sixth place, and just 619 yards away from LaDainian Tomlinson in fifth place. So all Frank Gore has to do in 2017 is rush for at least 620 yards and he’d move into the top five. In his 12 seasons, Gore has failed to reach that mark just once - in is rookie season, when he rushed for 608 yards on only 127 carries. Gore also has an outside chance of reaching number four, as he’s just 1,036 yards away from Curtis Martin. He’s reached that 1,036 yard mark in a single season in eight of his 12 years (but in neither of the last two).
"I hear it," Gore said recently of his place on the rushing list, according to ESPN’s Mike Wells. "Edge [Edgerrin James], Fred T [Taylor] tell me to keep going. They think I can get top 4 if I just keep being me and keep training. As long as I'm healthy and feeling good and I'm on the field and get the opportunities, that will come."
It’s clear that Frank Gore isn’t nearly as effective as he once was, and at age 34 odds are we’ll see him start to slow down even more. But he’s certainly within very realistic reach of moving into the top five all-time on the NFL’s rushing list, which would be a heck of an accomplishment. Hopefully he’s able to do so in 2017 with the Colts.