FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady isn’t the only player defying Father Time in the AFC East.
Running back Frank Gore, whom Brady’s New England Patriots will face this Sunday, is the Buffalo Bills’ leading rusher this season at age 36. He’s played one of the most physically demanding positions in sports — and played it well — for 15 years, appearing in all but 14 of a possible 227 games along the way and soaring past the typical expiration date for NFL backs.
Incredibly, Gore has led his team in rushing in every single one of his 14 pro seasons, eclipsing 1,000 yards in nine of them and 900 in another two.
After a decade with the San Francisco 49ers, three years with the Indianapolis Colts and a one-season stay in Miami, Gore signed with the Bills this past spring and has remained his reliably productive self, totaling a team-high 164 rushing yards on 44 carries with two touchdowns through three games. He currently sits in fourth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, fewer than 400 yards shy of third-place Barry Sanders.
Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy has long admired Gore from afar, both for his on-field talents and for his quiet, humble demeanor.
?It’s impressive to see someone like him,” Van Noy said. “I think he’s fourth all-time (in) rushing. Man, what a talent he’s been in the league. And the best part about him is he hasn?t said a word. That?s really impressive to me. Not a talker. He?s all about that action. That?s someone I hope kids look (up) to and look after his game, because it’s been really impressive.”
Safety Duron Harmon, who had yet to start high school when Gore was drafted in the third round in 2005, had similar praise for the ageless ball-carrier.
“(He’s) always running the rock and always running it hard,” Harmon said. “What is he, fourth or fifth in all-time rushing? It shows the type of player that he is — a Hall of Fame player. He doesn’t look like he’s in Year 15. He’s running the ball hard. He’s being that first- and second-down running back for them — hard to tackle, running through arm tackles. We’ve got to rally to him and get him on the ground.”
Gore had one of his best performances of the 2018 season against the Patriots last December, racking up 92 yards on 12 carries in the Miami Miracle game and adding a 24-yard reception. He and the Bills’ dual-threat quarterback, Josh Allen, will face a tough challenge this week against a New England defense that’s allowed the fewest rushing yards per game (36.7) and per carry (2.3) this season.