Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Gore not eyeing retirement but hopes to do so as a Niner when the time comes

Jul 8, 2019 at 7:20 AM--

Frank Gore is about to enter his 15th NFL season and his first with the Buffalo Bills. The running back has proven he can still be productive. While teams probably don't view his role as the workhorse he once was, Gore still averaged 4.6 yards per carry and a career-high 10.3 yards per reception last year with the Miami Dolphins.

Gore ranks No. 5 all-time in total career yards from scrimmage (18,544) and No. 4 all-time in career rushing yards (14,748). He is within striking distance of the No. 3 spot held by Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders (15,269 rushing yards).

Barring something unexpected, Gore will likely surpass Sanders because he is not looking toward retirement and plans to continue playing for as long as his body can withstand the physical demands of an NFL season.

"I just go how I feel," Gore told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Saturday. "If I feel I can't do it no more, then I call it."

As long as an NFL team wants Gore, he will keep playing. That's why he signed a one-year deal with Buffalo this offseason. The Bills not only pursued the 36-year-old running back this year but also did so last year before Gore joined his hometown Dolphins.

"It was the second year where they came after me," Gore said. "They showed that they wanted me again. In this league, especially at my age, you want to be wanted."

When Gore does eventually decide to call it quits on his Hall-of-Fame-worthy career, he hopes to do so with the team that made him a third-round draft pick in 2005 and where he spent his first 10 NFL seasons — the San Francisco 49ers. That will likely come in the form of a one-day contract rather than a deal that puts him back on the football field with his former team.

"I'm going to be a Niner, you know, I've been there – that's who drafted me, gave me the opportunity to come into this league, to be a professional ball player, and I was there 10 years, man," Gore said. "That's my home, my second home. It would be right to go back – if I have to do a one-day [contract], sign that and I'll be a Niner for life."

Saturday wasn't the first time Gore has expressed a desire to end his career with San Francisco. Players enter the Hall of Fame associated with each NFL team for which they played. However, if Gore had to choose one, which he doesn't, it would be the 49ers.

"Coming out of college, I was injured, and they still gave me an opportunity to get to that level that I always wanted to get as a kid," Gore told 95.7 The Game in March. "I got to go (into the Hall of Fame) as a Niner, man. I started there, and I'm going to finish there when I'm done. Whenever I feel like I am done, I'm going to come back and retire as a Niner."

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