Frank Gore can hear the clock ticking
At least, that's what the veteran running back — who is in his 16th season in the NFL — said on Sunday after the Jets' 10th loss of the season.
"I don't know if I'm going to play next year," Gore said after the Chargers defeated the Jets, 34-28, at SoFi Stadium. "You just never know, and I've got to be real with myself in how teams think about my age. They might not want a 38-year-old running back on the team. It's tough because I don't know about next year."
Gore, 37, is the third-leading rusher in NFL history. He turns 38 in May, and the challenges of this season have made him question how much time he has left playing the game he loves. With an uncertain future Gore remains committed to inspiring his teammates.
"I'm just real with myself," Gore said. "When you're up in age at the position we play, some people don't go by tape. … Every organization I've been in, they know the way I work. If they really know me, they'll know I'll be OK if I want to play because they know I'm going to give them my all."
He added: "But sometimes it doesn't work like that, and I know this. So, I've got to keep it real with myself. If I'm here, I'm going to try my best to give these young men everything I've got just to get that first win. That's on the practice field and that's on Sundays. And that's all I can do. I know they watch me, and I can't sell them short."
In Sunday's loss, Gore rushed 15 times for 61 yards and scored his first TD of the season. In all this season he has rushed for 447 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and tacked on 58 receiving yards. The team's 0-10 record is difficult for Gore to reconcile at this stage of his career, but he sees progress ahead of the final six games of the 2020 season.
"We're thinking about that every day," he said. "We've got to get one. You don't want to go 0-16. Especially if this might be my last year. I can't go out like that, you know. We're just going to keep working as a team. Hopefully, we can just try to get one. Can't wait till we get it; I'll be so happy. If it is my last year, I can't say I'm going out 0-16."
No one knows when the future Hall of Fame running back will call it quits, but the Jets have been fortunate to have such a quality individual in the meeting room, locker room and on the field.
"I tell myself, we're not winning, but I can at least show these young men that if I still go out there every day and work my behind off, they can do it, too," Gore said. "So, I think that's probably what God has me here for, to keep showing these young men the way to work and the way to be pros. Hopefully we just get a win."