Frank Gore always believed he would wind up playing professionally in Miami, even if the journey to get back there was longer than expected.
The veteran running back realized his dream when he signed a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins in March, returning to the city where he was born and starred at the collegiate level.
Gore, who turned 35 in May and will be entering his 14th NFL season, told the Miami Herald that he knew he was certain that he would wind up playing in his hometown.
“I remember when Bobby McCain, when he was in his rookie or second year, we trained together over the summer,” said Gore, per the newspaper. “I told him before the end, I’m going to be in the locker room with you. I remember when I signed, he said ‘Boy, you were right.’ I’m happy to be here. Now I just want to show everybody that I still can play.”
The only running back in the league to rush for at least 900 yards in each of the past three seasons, Gore ran for 961 yards last season for the Indianapolis Colts.
It was third season in Indianapolis after spending his first 10 years with the San Francisco 49ers. Although he scored only three touchdowns last season, matching his career low, Gore believes playing on natural grass in Miami will be a boon in what could be his final year.
“Turf is tough on your body and it’ll have you swollen,” said Gore. “Playing on turf, I wouldn’t get my body back until that Friday. But when I’m playing on grass, I’m good after the game. I’m happy that I’m on grass.”
Gore has defied the odds for an NFL running back, still producing at an age when 30 years old typically signals a dramatic decline at the position. Not to mention he suffered two torn ACLs while playing for the University of Miami.
“I still feel good,” said Gore. “I think about it sometimes. I think about how blessed I am to still be playing a game that I love since I was a kid. I always hear it every year: ‘When you turn this age, you can’t do it anymore.’
“Especially with what it took me to get here, to play in this league, with the injuries that I had, and still to be blessed to play this game and have pretty good years, I think that’s a blessing.”
Gore rushed for 2,953 yards and 13 touchdowns while starting all 48 games during his three years with the Colts. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, he has eclipsed 1,000 yards nine times, most recently in 2016.
A major milestone is within Gore’s reach. He has rushed for 14,026 yards during his career and sits 76 yards shy of passing Curtis Martin for fourth place on the NFL’s career rushing list.
Gore looks forward to boosting his totals on his home turf.
“Coming from Coral Gables and going to the University of Miami, it’s been good,” said Gore. “Now I’ve got to make sure that I’m ready for the season and do some good things for the team.”