Colts Free Agent Watch: Frank Gore
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INDIANAPOLIS – There’s no debating the remarkable longevity of future (first ballot?) Hall of Famer Frank Gore.
The guy has defied odds in running at an incredibly high level now for 13 seasons.
But the NFL is a business.
And the business side of debating Frank Gore ‘the free agent’ tells me it would make sense for both the Colts and the durable runner to part ways.
Gore is planning on playing football at the age of 35, which will be his 14th season in the NFL.
How uncommon are 35-year-old NFL running backs?
Since 1998, one NFL running back age 35 or older has had at least 150 rushing yards for an entire season.
But where will Gore be doing his running in 2018?
Gore is a free agent after 3 durable and productive years with the Indianapolis Colts.
General Manager Chris Ballard has been effusive in his praise for the type of professional that Gore is for an NFL team. Ballard would probably love to keep Gore around in his locker room as a model for how to be a professional.
An interesting subplot to Gore possibly returning is the new running backs coach in Indy. It sounds like former San Francisco RB coach Tom Rathman is coming to the Colts. Gore absolutely loves Rathman, so would such a hire shift the running back's thinking, or the Colts' thought process?
When Gore trains for the 2018 season, he will do so having started 108 straight games. It’s the longest current active streak for a running back by an incredible 75 games.
The durability and professionalism of Gore are second to none, but when it comes down to business, the Colts need to let their running back walk in free agency.
And, honestly, Gore should be looking for a more playoff ready team in 2018 as he seeks out that elusive Super Bowl ring.
At the end of the 2017 season, Gore said his next stop would be a “nasty, punch you in the mouth” type of team. While that description doesn’t fit the current Colts, Gore did say he would be open to return if Andrew Luck is/was healthy.
Percent I’d Bring Gore Back: 35
-If Gore does want to stay in Indy for a 4th season, the Colts should look elsewhere to add to their running back group. Gore’s yards per carry in 3 seasons with the Colts (3.8 YPC) hovered near the bottom for starting running backs around the league. Although the running lanes haven’t been gaping for the Colts’ runners, a little more pop from the running back position is needed. The Colts still have Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack under contract. Plus, dipping into a deep 2018 running back draft class would serve the Colts quite well as they try to get younger. Bringing Gore back in 2018 would keep Mack from much-needed game reps and hold the Colts back from developing another young runner. A player with the longevity of Gore will not be seen for a long time among NFL running backs. It’s a career that is certainly more than Hall of Fame worthy. But it’s time for the Colts to get younger, add an in-between the tackles runner, to complement the explosive Mack and the consistent Turbin. Plus, Gore deserves a shot at that Super Bowl ring with a team much more capable of making such a run in 2018. Gore is currently 75 yards behind Curtis Martin for 4th on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.