Although his playing days in the NFL are still far from over, San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore -- who has rushed for over 10,000 yards in 10 seasons with just one team -- may just be making a case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is making a case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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Gore not only rushed for his 10,000th yard during the 49ers' 27-17 Week 1 road win over the Dallas Cowboys, he also did so in his 10th season with just one team, per ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter Paul Gutierrez:
"San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore joined an elite club in Sunday's 28-17 season-opening victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
"Yes, we already know he became the 29th member of the 10,000-yard rushing club. But more than that, Gore is just the 10th player to rush for that many yards while playing at least 10 seasons with one team.
"Try Emmitt Smith (Dallas Cowboys), Walter Payton (Chicago Bears), Barry Sanders (Detroit Lions), Tony Dorsett (Cowboys), Franco Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers), Thurman Thomas (Buffalo Bills), Fred Taylor (Jacksonville Jaguars), Jerome Bettis (Steelers) Tiki Barber (New York Giants).
"All but Taylor, Bettis and Barber are already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, though Bettis is a four-time finalist for enshrinement in Canton. So it begs the question -- is Gore worthy of a Hall of Fame discussion?
"Or is it too soon to bring up the topic?
"Consider: Bettis, who rushed for 13,662 yards in his career as a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, went out on top with a Super Bowl ring while Barber was a three-time Pro Bowler, and one-time All-Pro and Taylor went to one Pro Bowl.
"Gore, a five-time Pro Bowler with 10,033 career rushing yards who has been to the playoffs the past three seasons after being shut out the first six years of his career, has yet to win a rushing title, or be part of a Super Bowl championship team. Besides, a more hearty Canton case for a 49ers running back might first be made for Roger Craig.
"Plus, Gore is 31 years old and his best days may be behind him, but he still has some run left in him.
"'There's no shelf life for football players,' said coach Jim Harbaugh. 'And that's something I learned at an early age from my mom -- never to believe in expiration dates. She taught us that very early -- pay no attention to the expiration date on that can or that milk or that bread.
"'Now, maybe she was just trying to get things at a lesser cost. Learned that very well. There is no expiration date. Even if the bread had a little mold on it, brush it off or cut it off and eat the other part, but we're not throwing it away. We're not throwing away good food or drink.'
"Or football players that can still contribute and, presumably, continue to build a case for Canton while helping a team that's been to three straight NFC title games finally break through to get the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy in 20 years."
Not only has Gore enjoyed a good start to his 2014 NFL season, he is also mentoring 49ers rookie and former Ohio State Buckeyes running back, Carlos Hyde, notes Steve Corkran of BayAreaNewsGroup.com (via The Contra Costa Times):
"Rookie running back Carlos Hyde is off to a nice start in his NFL career, with veteran Frank Gore helping make Hyde's transition from college seamless.
"'Carlos is going to be all right,' Gore said Wednesday. 'I've known him since before he got drafted. We trained him in the same place. I try to teach him some stuff...He's got a bright future in front of him.'
"Hyde rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on seven carries in his regular-season debut, a 28-17 49ers victory over the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. Gore led the way with 66 yards on 16 carries.
"For now, Gore and Hyde are all the 49ers have in the backfield, once believed to be a strength. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that the 49ers don't intend to add another running back to the roster this week.
"It wasn't long ago that the 49ers boasted a running backs corps that included Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Glenn Winston and Marcus Lattimore.
"Hunter suffered a season-ending knee injury, James was released Monday, Winston was waived before the season started and Lattimore is recovering from knee and hamstring injuries.
"Gore has mentioned Hyde since the 49ers drafted Hyde in May. It's a role he takes seriously.
"'Who helped me?' Gore said. 'I didn't have a mentor here. I didn't really.'
"Instead, Gore sought help from the outside. He received his guidance on what to expect in the NFL from Marshall Faulk, LaDanian Tomlinson and Edgerrin James.
"'I tell him what he needs to do and what to expect,' Gore said 'We work good together.'"
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