Frank Gore gets asked the same question as some of the other “30 somethings” who have recently joined the Indianapolis Cols.
How much does the 11th-year pro have left?
“I still love the game. I train hard,” he said Wednesday during a break from the first week of offseason training activities. “My goal while I’m here is to be able to help this team. Just to show the young guys like Vick (Ballard) and Boom (Herron) how to be a pro and how to work. So far we’ve been doing a great job together.”
Gore, 31, is expected to be the exception to the rule that running backs only last for so long due to the NFL’s constant pounding. He’s rushed for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns in his career, the most rushing yards in San Francisco 49ers history. And he’s missed only one start in the last four seasons of a xx-game career.
The Colts signed him to a three-year, $12-million contract to bolster a backfield that has been inconsistent at times in the past three years. The team has made the playoffs primarily because of the Andrew Luck-led passing game.
Gore changed his mind on a free-agency visit to the Philadelphia Eagles because he sensed he could make a difference with the Colts. He wanted to play with Luck. He saw opportunity with an AFC contender for the Super Bowl.
“They’ve got a great group of guys here,” Gore said. “The quarterback’s a great leader. I think as long as we’re together and keep following our quarterback, we’ll be fine.”
He’s been impressed by what he’s seen of Luck so far. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, at just 25, has that kind of effect on others. Gore’s friend, wide receiver Andre Johnson, signed with the Colts for similar reasons — the appeal of playing with No. 12 and having a chance at a Super Bowl are tremendous motivators.
“Just being out there throwing balls, he’s doing the small drills that a quarterback does and he’s running the show,” Gore said. “When we’re out there throwing the ball, he’s telling us what to do. That’s what I’m surprised about, I’m happy to see as a quarterback.”
If Gore has learned anything about life in the NFL, a team doesn’t go anywhere without a talented quarterback.
“Yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to win in this league without a quarterback,” he said.
If you have a player like Luck, Gore said, “Then hey, you’ve got a great chance.”
Gore shrugged at the notion he could be the missing link to his new offense. His mindset is more simplified.
“Just be a football player,” he said. “I’ve been doing this going on 11 years now. As long as I work hard in the offseason and work hard in camp and just be me. Try my best to be me and that’s doing whatever it takes to help this team win. Just go out there and have fun.”
That starts with eight weeks of OTAs.
“I want to grow with my teammates, grow with my coaches, get the playbook down pact so when I come back from camp I can just get going and rolling, go out there and just work,” he said.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.