Let’s get right into it: Frank Gore has had one of the best careers of any runningback, ever. His longevity and numbers alone are proof of that:
- 201 Career Games Played and counting (4th all time among Runningbacks) Behind only Emmitt Smith, Marcus Allen and Earnest Byner
- 14,228 rushing yards and counting (4th all time) Behind only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders
- 3,273 career rushing attempts and counting (5th all time) Behind only Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis, Emmitt Smith, and Walter Payton
- 77 Career Rushing Touchdowns
Those are just a few of his mind boggling numbers that he has put up in his career. Look at the names he is behind in those key stats; Hall of Famers, some of the greatest players this game has ever seen. Those are the caliber of player Frank Gore deserves to be mentioned with, although he has been widely overlooked and underappreciated throughout his career. The reason the 49ers need to sign Frank Gore is simple…he is a First Ballot Hall of Famer, and was the heart and soul of San Francisco for 10 years.
There are many other deserving players who he will be competing with, as there are every year. Assuming they retire after this season, the other players who could be up for first ballot votes along with Gore include Larry Fitzgerald, Julius Peppers, Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Davis, Terrell Suggs, Eli Manning, and even a possibility of Drew Brees or Ben Roethlisberger. While these are all fantastic players (In my opinion Eli Manning is the most overrated player of the last 14 years, but I digress), Frank Gore meant SO much to the 49ers during his time there, it would be a travesty if he was not inducted to the Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible.
It would take about 50,000 words to give a comprehensive compendium of why Frank Gore deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. After breaking out in 2006 with 1,695 rushing yards (and over 2,000 yards from scrimmage) and 9 total touchdowns, the 49ers realized they had struck gold with the 5’9, 3rd round pick from Miami. Runningbacks on bad teams (with bad or inexperienced quarterbacks) rarely have pro-bowl caliber numbers, but Gore was an exception. Rushing for over 1,000 yards in 4 straight seasons from 2006-2009, even while the team struggled, Gore was selected to his first two pro-bowls in 2006 and 2009. In all, he was selected to 5 pro bowls, including 3 in a row from 2011 to 2013. In his 10 years with the 49ers, Gore couldn’t manage to rush for at least a thousand yards on only two occasions- his rookie year, when he was given only 127 rush attempts, and 2010, when his season was cut short by five games due to injury. He was also the main cog for success during the 49ers Super Bowl run in 2012, accounting for 119 rushing yards and a touchdown in the Divisional round against Green Bay, 90 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns against Atlanta in the NFC Championship game, and 110 rushing yards and a touchdown against Baltimore in the Super Bowl. While Colin Kaepernick’s electric play took over the headlines, Frank Gore was quietly the player on offense who was most responsible for leading the team during the entire season and postseason throughout his entire career.
In the years after he left San Francisco, Gore continued his success on a Colts team that in recent history has never been able to run the ball. He finished his first season with Indianapolis 33 rushing yards short of a thousand, his 2nd, at age 33, with 1,025 rushing yards, and his 3rd just 39 yards short of a thousand. In Miami, he is averaging 4.3 yards per carry through 5 games and added a receiving touchdown, albeit in limited action. At 35 years old, to have any production at runningback, let alone at that level, is astounding.
This is why the 49ers would be doing their fanbase a big favor by signing him to a congratulatory type contract, or even trading for him midseason (it’s more of a dream, but they could use the help right now!). We have seen this act from the organization before with Jerry Rice, and while I wouldn’t dare compare any player to the GOAT, Gore has a special place in the heart of every 49ers fan. As a matter of fact, for those of us who were not fortunate enough to see Rice in his prime, Gore is the best player on the offensive side of the ball we have ever rooted for. The 49er faithful would agree; let him RETIRE AS A NINER!