Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Staley says Frank Gore is a ‘first-ballot Hall of Famer’

Dec 7, 2017 at 6:08 PM--

Former San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore, who is now with the Indianapolis Colts, still occupies a special place in the hearts of the Niner Faithful. On Sunday, Gore's 61 yards rushing against the Jacksonville Jaguars moved him into fifth place among the all-time rushing leaders – passing former San Diego Chargers and New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

Gore is just 404 yards away from the number four spot, which is currently owned by former New England Patriots and Jets running back Curtis Martin.

Gore is the only player among the top 11 all-time rushing leaders who is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tomlinson was inducted in August during his first year of eligibility. Running backs that have not played nearly as long as Gore or accomplished as much statistically are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For example, former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis was inducted along with Tomlinson.

Of course, the argument for Davis was that he was dominant for a three-year window and carried the Broncos to two Super Bowls and won an MVP award.

Does Gore belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

"No question," Colts offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo said last week. "I mean I'm playing with him now, and he's still playing at a high level, and he was like on my Madden team back when I was in high school. Anybody who can do it at that high of a level for that long, yeah, I definitely think so."

Gore played 10 seasons with the 49ers. Since being drafted by San Francisco in 2005, he rushed for a franchise record 11,073 yards during that span. No 49ers running back in franchise history had more 1,000-yard rushing seasons than Gore, who had eight.

Another current player who believes Gore should end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is current 49ers starting left tackle Joe Staley, who joined 95.7 The Game and shared his thoughts on his former teammate.

"Not only a Hall of Famer but a first-ballot Hall of Famer, I believe," Staley told Damon Bruce on Thursday night. "He's an unbelievable running back. You just don't see that longevity, and the physicality, and everything at the position. For himself to be able to play as long as he has and also at a high level, it's unbelievable.

"The guy's been the -- we like to throw around the 'He's a pro's pro' and kind of laugh about it in the locker room a little bit. He's somebody you look to for the example of how to do things the right way. But he really is the epitome of that. He's been super, super influential in my career. Just how to practice, practice habits, the work ethic that it takes, study habits, everything that it takes to be a professional athlete.

"And also, just an all-around great guy. I'm biased because I blocked for him for so many years but I don't think it gets much better than Frank Gore at any position. He's just an all-around great person."

Over his 13-year career, Gore has rushed for 13,697 yards, 77 touchdowns, and has a career average of 4.4 yards per carry. He also has 3,596 yards and 16 touchdowns receiving.

In eight playoff appearances with the 49ers, Gore had 140 carries for 646 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

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