The Inconvenient Truth about being an old runningback in the NFL

Another blog about another #21 in the bay area, Frank Gore. Apparently he plans to hold out of camp and the season in search for a new contract. He’s on his last year, and he’s almost 30. As everyone knows, 30 is around that time when runningbacks in the NFL plummet in their usefulness. In fact, the San Francisco 49ers haven’t even been able to reach him since the lockout has lifted. The star offensive player on your team has gone AWOL? Well…

Gore has been a steal for the 49ers since they drafted him out of the University of Miami in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft. In six seasons Gore has pushed his way towards the top of the 49ers rushing record book with 6,414 yards and 35 touchdowns. He has been integral in the passing game with 270 receptions and 2,283 receiving yards.

The big issue is that Gore is coming off a hip fracture in 2010 that cost him the final five games of the season. All indications are that he is fully recovered, but at 28 years old, one has to wonder how much the 49ers would be willing to commit to him and how much he is asking for in return. Gore is looking for a new deal before he hits free agency and before he injures himself again. Gore’s injury serves to remind him how short NFL careers can be. Accordingly, he is looking for some contract security heading into this season.

Quite a few running backs will be hitting the market as unrestricted free agents or cap casualties. The 49ers could put pressure on Gore by bringing them through team headquarters for visits. The team might be wise to do that anyway, given Gore’s injury troubles last season. The 49ers are in this for the long haul with a first-year head coach. Gore’s window will close before the 49ers’ window will close. Perhaps the 49ers can find a creative way to show Gore the respect he has earned without compromising principles.

Another big holdout will be DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles. More on that, if I feel like it. ;)

Author: Jason Zajdel

Learning as I go along. It’s an awesome ride. =-)