Frank Gore spent the first 10 years of his career in San Francisco before signing with Indianapolis last offseason. He called both franchises “great organizations,” but playing in Indy has been a little different.
“It’s different because – I’m not saying we didn’t have good quarterbacks with the Niners – but when you’re playing with a guy like (Andrew) Luck who commands the huddle, he’s like a coach,” Gore said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “In the offseason and OTAs, he’s running things like he’s the coach. That’s the difference. As long as we can keep 12 up and the O-line and the running game and defense . . . all (play) as one, we should be fine.”
Luck, 26, was limited to seven games with a lacerated kidney last season. One year after throwing for 40 touchdowns, he accounted for just 15, as the Colts – a trendy Super Bowl pick – finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for just the second time in 14 seasons.
“You could tell he missed football,” Gore said. “You could tell he missed it. On the practice field every day, he practices like it’s a game. You could tell that he loved the game of football, and I love that. I could tell that last year really hurt him that he couldn’t play with us. When we got back in OTAs, man, it was like he was just happy to be back on the field with us.”
Overall, the AFC South – considered the weakest division in football for several years – could provide one of the more competitive races in the league.
“I think the division is very, very tough now,” Gore said. “A lot of teams are getting key pieces and they’re moving in the right direction, especially Jacksonville. Me facing them last year, they had a tough defense. Texas has got a tough defense and another young quarterback that should do great things. I would also say Tennessee. They’re taking the right steps, getting two running backs. So we just got to worry about us. As long as we just get better every day (and take) steps in the right direction, we should be fine.”
Gore, to his credit, has been more than fine. He accounted for 1,234 total yards and seven touchdowns (six rush, one receiving) last year and has recorded 1,000+ total yards in each of the last 10 seasons.
Shouldn’t the 33-year-old be slowing down a bit?
“I’m used to hearing that,” Gore said, amused. “As a running back, when you turn 28, you’re going to hear that. I’ve been hearing it for a long time, but I’m cool. I feel good. I had a good camp and I’m ready to (start) the season. . . . I can’t worry about what people (say) outside the game who are not competing with me on the field. After the games, when coaches and other players of other teams come up to me amazed by how I can still play this game at a high level and how I compete like I still love the game, that’s all I worry about. When I feel like I don’t have love for the game anymore or I can’t be me on the practice field or in a game and I can’t help my team win, I’ll walk way from it. But now, I still love it. I’m having fun and enjoying it. I still feel like I have stuff to prove. Even though I’ve been blessed to have pretty good years in the past, I still feel like I got stuff to accomplish.”