At times, it felt like Frank Gore’s career would never come to an end. That he would continue to defy Father Time — to continue being the Tom Brady of running backs.
On Thursday, however, Gore’s NFL career officially came to an end, as the 39-year-old announced his retirement after 16 seasons, the first 10 coming with the 49ers. In those 10 seasons, Gore was the most productive running back to ever wear the scarlet and gold, becoming the franchise’s all-time leader with 11,703 rushing yards and 64 rushing touchdowns.
Although he finished his career in four different cities, Gore’s legacy is still firmly planted in San Francisco, as he signed a one-day contract with the team to retire as a 49er. He will be inducted into the team’s Edward DeBartolo Sr. Hall of Fame at a game during the 2022 NFL season, via ESPN.
“This organization will always be a part of me, one that I will forever associate myself with,” Gore said. “I will talk about San Francisco as ‘we’ and ‘us’ for the rest of my life and will support the 49ers and The Faithful in every way possible.”
Gore finishes his career with 16,000 rushing yards on the dot, third all-time in NFL history behind Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. Gore most certainly has a bust waiting for him in Canton in the future and will first be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2027.
Among the accolades, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, a second-team All-Pro nod in 2006 and a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s. Quite the storied career for the 2005 third-round pick, who dealt with injuries in college coming out of Miami.
Gore twice tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while at Miami, but San Francisco still took a chance on him — one that worked out well.
“One of the very first things I told the 49ers organization when they drafted me in 2005 was that they got the right guy,” Gore said. “I knew early on that I wouldn’t let my college career define me in regard to injuries and that I would have to outwork a lot of people to get to where I wanted to be. After 10 years in San Francisco and 16 years in the NFL, I can confidently say that I put all I had into the game of football.
“Football was and is everything to me. From meetings and film study to practice and just being in the locker room, all of it meant the world to me. I am happy to officially close this chapter of my life and proud of what I was able to accomplish and the legacy I leave behind.”