How much does Miami Dolphins RB Frank Gore have left to offer?

Frank Gore is not your typical mid-30’s running back. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

The first running back to touch the football in the Adam Gase era was Arian Foster.

Foster ran right, gained eight yards, was tackled by Kam Chancellor of the Seahawks. And that was about the end of the Arian Foster era.

Foster carried 21 more times, gained a total of 55 yards, and called it quits, at the age of 30.

Arian Foster had an outstanding NFL career. But, due in part to nagging injuries, Foster retired mid-season with at statement that read in part, “my body just can’t take the punishment this game asks for any longer.”

Not only was Foster not the player he was in his prime, as a Pro Bowl Houston Texan, but, frankly, the tank was empty. The shelf life of an NFL running back is short. They almost always fall off and disappear after turning 30.

Which brings us to Frank Gore, another older running back the Dolphins have added since Gase’s arrival. Gore will turn 35 in less than a month, so his longevity is more remarkable than most any other running back in NFL history.

But what stood out about Gore’s introduction to the Miami media on Tuesday was the passion he still exudes for the game of football.

“You have to love the game to keep playing this long,” Gore said.

It’s not clear what Gore’s role will be, though likely more mentor and role player than workhorse.

I’ve never spoken with Gore before, as far as I can recall. I was covering the NFL when Gore was at the University of Miami, then covering college football for the first 11 years of Gore’s pro career. So I was anxious to hear from him on Tuesday.

The first thing you notice about Gore is his size. He’s listed at 5-foot-9, and perhaps he is. But we’ll take heart over size any day.

The second thing you notice about Gore is he’s soft-spoken, for such a successful professional athlete.

But the most impressive thing I took away from Gore was how important the game is to him. How important winning is to him. And how grateful he is to have a chance to presumably wrap up his stellar career in his hometown.

“I’m going to show this organization that they picked the right guy by bringing me in this year,” Gore said.

I asked Gore, as a veteran of 13 NFL seasons, having logged more than 14,000 rushing yards, what observations he’s made about what separates the teams that win from the teams that lose.

“In San Francisco, we were like brothers,” Gore said. “The offense, defense we stuck together – on the field and off the field. After the game we met up at each other’s houses and hung out. In San Francisco, I didn’t want to let Justin Smith down, so I played every play like it was my last. I didn’t want to Patrick Willis down.”

There was something off about the chemistry in Miami’s locker room last season.

And so the Dolphins shipped away Pro Bowlers Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, Mike Pouncey and Ndamukong Suh. The franchise felt that nucleus of stars did not deliver the consistent leadership necessary for sustained high-level winning.

It’s not logical to say Gore is a part of Miami’s long-term vision. But they are hoping that players like him will set a mature tone for the future.

Fore some reason, Gore reminded me of a prize fighter as I listened to him speak on Tuesday. Yes, a prize fighter who’s knocked a lot of opponents out and still believes he’ll win against much younger, bigger opponents.

Gore has rushed for more than 1,000 yards nine times and nearly averaged 1,000 yards in his three seasons in Indianapolis. But he’s also posted a career-low 3.7 yards per carry in two of his last three seasons.

He’s started 16 games for each of the last six seasons, a streak that figures to end due to the presence of emerging Dolphin Kenyan Drake. Gore’s greatest contributions to Miami this season may not come on Sundays.

For example, Gore practices hard. Really hard. Consider how on Tuesday he brought up ow much he enjoyed near-scraps with former 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, a fellow Pro Bowler and close friend.

“We used to be about to fight because I didn’t want to lose against him and he didn’t want to lose against me,” Gore recalled. “Basically it was the same thing of how we were at the University of Miami. I think once you get that and want to compete and you get the opportunity to start winning, you never want to go back.”

Gore has an opportunity to come back home. And despite his advanced age, it would be shocking if he didn’t finish this season on the field, as a Dolphin.

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Denver Broncos releasing C.J. Anderson, an obvious Dolphins targe

Miami Dolphins’ humble giant Jesse Davis says he was ‘not very good’ in ’17

Miami Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake reacts to Frank Gore signing

Why Miami Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake has added weight

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