Frank Gore has likely played his last game as a Jet. At the age of 37, his career could be over as well.
The legendary running back suffered a lung contusion in Sunday’s victory over the Browns, ending his season.
“That’s going to be one of those ones where he will not be available for a few weeks,” coach Adam Gase said on a Monday conference call. “Obviously, with one game left, he won’t be able to finish that last game.”
Gore has yet to announce his future plans, recently saying that he was unsure if teams would have interest in a 38-year-old running back. If he does call it quits, he would be doing so with 16,000 career rushing yards, third on the all-time list behind Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton, and with 19,985 yards from scrimmage, the fourth-most ever. In his one season with the Jets, Gore ran for 653 yards and two touchdowns.
Due to multiple ACL tears in college, Gore’s draft stock fell. He dropped to the third round in the 2005 draft, but didn’t let that slow him down. He spent a decade with the 49ers, before playing with the Colts for three seasons and the Jets, Bills and Dolphins for one year apiece. He reached five Pro Bowls, ran for over 1,000 yards nine times and scored 99 touchdowns in his memorable 14-year career.
Teammates have raved about Gore’s character, his work ethic and determination in what has been a lost season. His workmanlike attitude was a constant, even as the Jets lost their first 13 games this season.
“I know he probably doesn’t even necessarily think about it, but the young guys including myself and all the guys on the team look [up to] him and you just want to embody everything that he shows on a day-to-day basis,” quarterback Sam Darnold said. “It’s so consistent, and that’s why he’s had such a long career, that’s why he’s had the career that he’s had.”
Gase, who coached Gore in two previous stops, added: “I can’t say enough as far as what he’s done by leading by example.”
With Gore out, rookie running back La’Mical Perine should see his role expand. In his first game back since going on injured reserve with a sprained ankle on Nov. 24, Perine ran for 30 yards on nine carries and caught one pass for 14 yards against the Browns.
“It would be good to see him carrying the load and see how he does on first, second and third down,” Gase said.
Tight end Ryan Griffin (COVID-19 list) should return this week, but it is doubtful offensive lineman Josh Andrews (groin) will be able to return to practice, according to Gase. Offensive guard Greg Van Roten (foot) could return from injured reserve, though his status is uncertain.
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