All good things must come to an end. Frank Gore, who last played in the NFL as a 37-year-old in 2020, is finally hanging up his cleats for good. Gore will reportedly sign a one-day contract and retire as a member of the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, according to the Mercury News.
Gore revealed in April he planned to sign a one-day contract with the 49ers and retire during the 2022 NFL offseason.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) June 2, 2022
Gore walks away from football as the No. 3 all-time leading rusher in NFL history. Only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton sit above Gore on the all-time list.
After a promising rookie year with the 49ers in 2005, Gore went on to post 12 fantastic seasons in the NFL, the majority of which came with the 49ers. Gore rushed for at least 1,000 yards nine times over that period and made the Pro Bowl five times. He leaves the NFL as the 49ers' all-time leading rusher. Gore gained 11,073 rushing yards in his 10 seasons with the franchise.
Gore remained in the league for three more seasons following his peak years, and managed solid production with the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets despite being a part-time player at the end of his career.
Gore did not sign with an NFL team in 2021. He did not draw interest during the 2022 offseason either. With Gore's NFL future in doubt, he started to train in another sport. Gore made his boxing debut in May, when he picked up a knockout victory over Yaya Olorunsola.
Frank Gore hoping for NFL Hall of Fame call
Gore's position on the all-time rushing list all but guarantees his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Despite his eye-popping yardage total, there is some debate about Gore making it to the hall.
The argument for Gore is based on his longevity instead of his peak. While Gore had an excellent peak, he was rarely the best running back in the NFL. He never led the league in yardage or touchdowns in a single season. And never made an All-Pro team. Payton and Smith combined for nine All-Pro appearances, won MVP awards and lead the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns at least one season of their career.
Gore was consistently above average for a long time and remained, at the very least, an average player as he aged. His season-to-season stats don't jump off the page like other Hall of Fame running backs, but there's something to be said about Gore's effectiveness and longevity at a position that takes immense punishment.
Ultimately, Gore's position on the all-time rushing list might be the only thing that matters to Hall of Fame voters. He may lack the awards of other legendary runners, but Gore's position on the all-time rushing list speaks to his immense ability and durability in the NFL.
An average — or above average — player wouldn't sit No. 3 on the all-time rushing list. Gore was a special talent.