The Jets will finish their season without their leading rusher. Frank Gore‘s 16th NFL season will end on injured reserve.
While this does not mean much at this point in a 2-13 Jets season, this could certainly be significant for Gore. The NFL’s No. 3 all-time rushing leader — with exactly 16,000 rushing yards — is not signed through the 2021 season and has obviously enjoyed one of the longest careers in the history of the running back position.
Gore sustained a lung contusion in Week 16, which will end a season in which he logged more carries (187) than he has since 2017. The enduring veteran finished with 653 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Jets, his fifth NFL team. Gore signed with New York to back up Le’Veon Bell, but Bell suffered an early-season injury and was cut soon after returning.
This will only be Gore’s third missed game in the past 10 seasons. He has managed to keep finding landing spots at a position when a third contract is out of the question for most. Gore, who now has a son playing college football, has not indicated if he will try to play at age 38 next season. It is also uncertain if a team would give him an opportunity to return, though the Raiders joined the Jets in pursuing him this offseason.
Gore returning in 2021 would give him an outside shot at a previously unthinkable accomplishment. The five-time Pro Bowler passed Barry Sanders on the career rushing list last season and is now 726 yards away from Walter Payton for second overall. Gore has not hit that yardage number since 2017, however.