“Man, I just love football.”
That’s a part of the answer to almost every question I have ever asked Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore, who is one productive season away from moving from a large pile of potential Hall of Famers to a short stack of sure things.
“Frank, how long can you play this game?”
“What’s the secret to getting it done at this level for so long?”
“How does the hard work to stay in shape pay off?”
The answer has become a mantra in Indianapolis: “Man, I just love football.”
Sometimes, Gore will ask me questions, or one specific question, especially after a game where he defies his age: “How old did I look today?” It’s a defiant question – the kind of question that is asked through gritting teeth. I tell him not a day over 25, and he grins.
Gore speaks quietly and with an economy of words. What he lacks in volume and verbosity, he makes up for with passion. When he tells me he loves the game, Gore does it with a pleading in his voice and eyes that compel both belief and admiration.
In a town that last weekend saw Indiana Pacers forward Paul George choose branding over loyalty and love of the game, Gore’s quiet and determined work ethic resonates, and it should.
NFL history tells us that age 30 is the point at which skills and productivity begin to erode for running backs. Last season, Gore became the first 33-year-old back since John Riggins in 1984 to total more than 1,000 yards in a season. In 2017 he will try to do it again.
When former Colts GM Ryan Grigson signed…
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