Veteran running back Frank Gore is training to box, he says, and it seems his focus is there instead of playing a 17th NFL season, at least for now.
According to a report from Ian Rapoport at NFL.com, the 38-year-old Gore is “trying to make a fight happen”:
“I’ve been training for both — football and boxing. I’ve always loved boxing, so that’s what I’ve been doing. And we’re trying to make a fight happen. If we do that, you’ll see me in the ring. ... I just fell in love with how hard it is. I felt like, ‘Man, I couldn’t fight.’ And I always like a challenge. So I kept doing it and doing it and I saw myself getting better and better.”
Gore is a tremendous athlete — anyone playing in the NFL that long is incredible, let alone at running back — and probably will be able to flash some skills if he’s taking training seriously. And it’s also seems pretty clear that he’s not exactly gunning to become some world champion boxer at his age, which is good because that would be wildly delusional.
We recently saw former NFL standout wide receiver Chad Johnson, aka Chad Ochocinco, try his hand in the ring with an exhibition bout against Brian Maxwell on the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul event in June. Johnson was dropped but did finish the fight, and in all reality, Maxwell likely could have finished the show if he’d wanted to do so.
And of course we have seen a rash of celebrities, quasi-celebrities, washed celebrities, niche celebrities, and aging athletes try out boxing in the last year. Until the returns are dead — which may be coming or even already be here — it’s going to keep happening, and right now, a lot of folks who are thinking about it are probably trying to strike while the iron is still at least lukewarm.
Gore says he has “received calls” from NFL teams this year, and there are always injuries early and throughout the season. A veteran like Gore, who would likely need less time to adjust to a new offense than most, will surely continue to receive calls unless he actually says outright he doesn’t want to play football anymore. And probably still if he does, at least for this season.
Gore is third all-time in the NFL for rushing yards, with an even 16,000 in his career, owing largely do his longevity as he never led the league in rushing for a single season, but has just plugged away and was a true workhorse forever, making five Pro Bowls along the way.
Gore played in 15 games for the New York Jets in 2020, rushing 187 times for 653 yards and two touchdowns. He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2005-14, for the Indianapolis Colts from 2015-17, for the Miami Dolphins in 2018, and for the Buffalo Bills in 2019.