Today’s stat line of 21 carries, 62 yards and 1 touchdown doesn’t leap off the page for anyone. It was a physical, short yardage, pound-the-ball down your throat type of day for the San Francisco 49er’s running back Frank Gore. If you didn’t know any better, you’d leave the seven-year veteran off of your “top NFL running backs” list alongside Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, and Ray Rice.
But football insiders know Frank Gore is one of the league’s best. Frank has rushed for 1,000 yards five of his seven season and been to three straight Pro Bowls. He was crucial in the team’s 2011 run to the NFC Championship game. A machine between the tackles, Frank Gore will run the ball down your throat with power and speed.
It’s amazing considering where the young man came from.
Frank was a top running back in Gables (FL) and chose the University of Miami to stay close to home so he could look after his sick mother. Not only did he balance football with taking care of his family, but Frank battled a learning disorder in the classroom. He had a full plate to say the least, but Frank was focused on succeeding.
After a dominating freshman year at the University of Miami, Frank tore his left ACL in spring practice and spent the entire 2002 season sidelined while Willis McGahee ran wild for the Hurricanes team. When he returned to the field in 2003, Frank tore his right ACL.
For many running backs, a torn ACL means a slower first step and any chance to completely dominate as a feature back is diminished. But Frank refused to let the adversity of both knee injuries deter his game.
He could have folded any time over the previous years – academic issues, rough upbringing, and two ACL surgeries. But Frank chose to compete.
He went on to be drafted in the third round in 2005 by San Francisco, a draft where he has dominated the five running backs taken ahead of him in their careers since. But two knee injuries will cause any NFL team to draft with caution, so San Francisco took a flyer on the first-round talent in the third.
And all Frank needed was a chance.
Frank has rushed for almost 8,000 yards and 45 touchdowns in his seven year career. He continues to dominate the NFC West in leading the San Francisco 49ers back to contender status. All because Frank Gore chose to run through all the obstacles life stacked in his way and compete every day.