On Sunday, Bills running back Frank Gore eclipsed Hall of Famer Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list, finishing the day with 15,289. PFT spoke to Gore immediately after the game.
Regarding his accomplishment, he repeated much of what he told reporters following the 20-3 win over Denver. Regarding his lingering detractors, Gore had plenty more to say.
As to those who question his ability to continue to perform at a high level, Gore made it clear that (in contrast to athletes who claim they tune out the noise) he puts all criticism in his phone, and the reviews it as motivation before he works out.
There’s one specific type of criticism that gets Gore worked up: Those who say he’s not a Hall of Famer. As Gore gains more and more yards, it’s a dramatically shrinking minority.
But the argument still gets made, and it gets Gore worked up. When asked about those who oppose his enshrinement, Gore became animated, rattling off statistics from the early years of his career, when he was consistently averaging more than four yards per carry without a great offense around him. He pointed specifically to one season during which the 49ers’ offensive line was so banged up that they were signing guys “off the street,” and that stopping him remained the focal point of every defense the 49ers faced.
The tired questions that undermine his candidacy overlook the fact that he has managed to play the most demanding position in football for 15 years, that he continues to generate solid numbers, and that he consistently finds a team that will entrust him with opportunities in the running game at a time when so many younger and cheaper options are available.
Maybe, in order to eliminate all doubt, Gore needs to gain another 1,438 yards. That would move him past Walter Payton, into No. 2 on the all-time list.
Asked whether that’s the next stop for a certain Hall of Fame career (despite the naysayers), Gore laughed and said, “We’ll see.”