Fourth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, Frank Gore will not have any additional chances to add to his historic total this season.
The Dolphins running back will be out the rest of the way with a mid-foot sprain suffered Sunday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Monday tests revealed the extent of this injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, and Gore’s first season with his hometown team will end after 14 games.
It’s uncertain as to whether Gore will require surgery, with Rapoport adding that decision won’t come for a bit. The bigger question pertains to Gore’s future. He is 35 (36 in May) and playing on an expiring contract. But few NFL running backs have ever exhibited this kind of durability and consistency. Gore has not missed a game since the 2010 season and has only failed to hit the 14-game barrier in one of his 14 NFL seasons.
He said in November he was going year-to-year with his career. Despite his age, it would not be surprising if Gore was back for a 15th season. A return would give Gore (14,748 yards) a reasonable chance at surpassing Barry Sanders for third place on the all-time rushing list.
With Miami this year, Gore bounced back and finished his slate with 722 rushing yards. That’s the fifth-most by anyone in an age-35 season, behind John Riggins, John Henry Johnson, Emmitt Smith and Marcus Allen. While that does not eclipse his Colts totals — 900-plus ground yards in each of those three campaigns — Gore was better on a per-play basis. His 4.6 yards per carry are the most since his 2012 Pro Bowl season. Gore leads the Dolphins in rushing by a substantial margin over backfield mate Kenyan Drake.
Drake and rookie Kalen Ballage will be the primary backs going forward for the Dolphins, who remain in playoff contention. Though, with three 8-6 teams, the 7-7 Fins need a lot of help if they are to make it two postseason berths in the past three years.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.