Frank Gore, in his first 15 NFL seasons, has played just about every position a running back will be asked to line up at on a football field — RB, FB, TB, BB, H-B, SL and, with his outstanding hands, no doubt a few snaps at W, X, Y and Z.
Now he's a Jet and he's already received a new position to learn from head coach Adam Gase: ME-back.
It's the opposite of what you may think.
"He just told me to be me," Gore said in his recent conference call with Jets reporters. "Come in and be the guy I've always been, and that's coming to work, trying to be the first guy in the building, the last guy out, go out on the practice field and let the young guys see me going hard every day. That's just going to help our team get better."
Gore's been doing that for a decade and a half of pro seasons. Wherever he goes — the 49ers to start his career, Gase's Dolphins two years ago, the Bills last year — he brings his selfless attitude and considerable skills with him and everyone notices. As a byproduct, he's racked up outstanding rushing, scrimmage yardage and participation numbers.
And when it's time to move on, it always sounds like his idea, no discouraging words, no heated exchanges with management. Take his one year in Buffalo as an example.
"I will say Buffalo, they've got a bunch of great young talent," he said. "The head coach, the GM, I respect them a lot. They're doing great things over there. But you know, I'm on the other side now. Whenever we play them, that first game will come and I'll have my teammates ready to do whatever it takes to get a win."
Did he ever think of retirement while trying to get the Bills ready to win games?
"I didn't because when I was playing, the first six, seven games, I was ballin'," he said. "Once Buffalo started playing a younger guy, I still felt like I could do it. I just had to see what team would give me the opportunity."
He also sought advice from one of the people he listens to — Frank Jr., his oldest son, who participated in no-holds-barred Saturday workouts with his dad after he signed with the Dolphins.
"I asked my son what did he think I should do," Gore said. "He said, 'Dad, I think you can go one more.' So I said, OK, I'm going to go."
And some of those people he's impressed by being a ME-back all these years are Gase and Jets GM Joe Douglas.
"We're excited about not only the production Frank's brought in his career but we're excited about the chemistry he's going to bring to the running backs room and the locker room," Douglas told season ticket holders early this month, on the day the Jets agreed to terms with Gore. "He's got a great work ethic, he's a true pro. It's a relatively young room right now behind Le'Veon. So he's definitely going to help those young guys and be a great example for them moving forward."
And what about Bell? As one would expect after all these years, the Jets' new ME-back sees no problems meshing with Le'Veon as he seeks to hit his Steelers stride in his second season wearing green and white.
"I haven't talked to him since the last game last year," Gore said of the Jets' season finale in Orchard Park, NY. "I told him I put his jersey on my wall just because I respect his game. I respect the way he prepares himself to get ready for a season. I've been knowing Le'Veon since he was a rookie coming into the league, training for the Combine. He always respected me, I respected him.
"It'll be fun, man," Gore concluded for now, before he starts firing and inspiring his new teammates when they're all back on the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center practice pitch. "I've been around a bunch of great running backs, my whole career. I'm going to do whatever it takes to help him and the other guys and also help the team be successful on Sundays."