The Detroit Lions seem determined to sign an experienced running back, with Frank Gore now slated to visit.
With the NFL’s worst rushing offense last season (76.3 yards per game), the Detroit Lions are in the market for a running back in some shape or form this offseason. DeMarco Murray and Jonathan Stewart visited Detroit on Monday, and NFL Network’s Adidi Kinkhabwala was first report Frank Gore is also coming in for a visit at some point.
Gore has defied the over-30 age decline for running backs, with over 960 rushing yards in each of the last three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. But he has little place on a team that is trying to rebuild like the Colts, and they made it clear they will not be bringing him back for his age-35 season.
Gore has also played all 16 games in seven straight seasons, and including most of his time with the San Francisco 49ers he has topped 1,000 rushing yards in nine of the last 12 seasons. His yards per carry average dipped below 4.0 with the Colts, probably never to return to that level, but Gore has been as consistent as they come.
As you might expect, Gore is the NFL’s active leading rusher and fifth on the all-time rushing list with 14,026 yards. He is just 75 yards behind Curtis Martin (14,101 yards) for fourth all-time, so pretty much as long as Gore suits up again in 2018 he’ll reach that mark. But he has not topped 1,200 rushing yards in a season since 2012, so third-place Barry Sanders (15,269 yards) is out of Gore’s reach unless he continues to play in 2019.
As a 30-plus year old running back, Gore has been what Adrian Peterson continues to think he can be despite evidence to the contrary. The Lions seem to be targeting older backs, perhaps for reasons beyond cost, so Gore just might be as good as it gets.