This offseason, Frank Gore was in and out of the Colts’ practices. Sometimes he was seen participating, but it seemed just as common (if not more so) that he was absent.
Considering the fact that OTAs are voluntary, not much thought was given to that, and Chuck Pagano at one point said that Gore was in Miami working out on his own due to some family stuff, but expected him back the following week. Sure enough, the following week Gore was back - but then the week after that he was once again not seen at practice.
Ultimately, a player’s absence from OTAs doesn’t really matter as long as it’s not for a contractual or injury-related reason. It certainly didn’t seem like that was the case for Frank Gore, but perhaps the latter one actually was partly the case.
In Chris Ballard’s evaluation of the roster last week during his conversation with Colts.com’s Bob Lamey, he mentioned this in regards to the running back position: “But I think we’ve got great competition there, getting Frank [Gore] back in the mix after letting him kind of heal up and get his body right, make sure he’s ready to go...”
That’s a very interesting statement because we haven’t heard anything about an injury for Frank Gore - yet Ballard said that they let Gore heal up and get his body right. To be fair, that could just mean letting the 34 year old recover from the usual grind of a football season. Gore is quite old for a running back, yet he still carried the football 263 times last year - the most in a season for him since 2013 and the fourth-most in a season in his career, while it was also the seventh-most of anybody in the league last year. Coupled with his 38 receptions, he touched the football 301 times. That’s a lot for anybody, but especially for a veteran with nearly 3,000 career carries. So it very well might not have been anything too significant and what Ballard meant was simply that they were letting him recover from the grind of the season.
But given the fact that he used the word “heal,” it seems to suggest that there was some other injury that he was dealing with too, whether one that affected him during the season or not, and that he was recovering from this offseason. It would make sense that if he was injured he would be working with the Colts’ trainers instead of working out on his own down in Miami, but perhaps he wanted to stick with his routine there and recover on his own.
Either way, that might help explain Gore’s absence from some of the practices of the Colts’ offseason program. It’s likely nothing significant whatever it is and that the Colts just want to limit the veteran’s workload of offseason reps some too, and it afforded some of the younger backs more opportunities this offseason to impress. Since the Colts will likely be looking to ease Gore’s burden a bit in 2017, that could be good news.
No matter what, Gore should be ready to roll when the season gets here. He stays in as good of shape as anybody, and he’s been as durable as any player in the league in recent years. Whatever he’s been doing training in Miami, it’s been working - so he should be ready to go when it matters.