Why Frank Gore Is NFL's Most Underrated Back

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystOctober 29, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 29:  Running back Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers leaps over William Gay #22 of the Arizona Cardinals on a frist down run during the first quarter of an NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

If you took a poll of football fans and media types as to who the best running back in the National Football League is, I'm sure any number of names would be mentioned.

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster would no doubt get some votes, as would Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings and Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks.

However, one back that just doesn't get the run he deserves outside of the Bay Area is Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers, who absolutely deserves to be mentioned among the best at his position in the National Football League.

Entering Monday night's tilt with the Arizona Cardinals, the eighth-year veteran ranked No. 6 in the NFL with 601 rushing yards and was averaging a robust 5.8 yards per carry, which led the NFL among running backs with more than 100 carries.

Not bad for a player that many thought was "over the hill" entering the season.

That average is even more impressive considering the punishment he takes playing for the run-heavy 49ers, as evidenced by the bruised ribs Gore sustained during a Week 7 contest in which he gashed a stout Seattle defense for 182 total yards.

Did he miss any time? Nope. In fact, he's played in at least 14 games in all but one of his eight seasons in the NFL.

The 29-year-old isn't a one-trick pony either. Gore has also pitched in 110 yards on 15 receptions, found the end zone four times and is more than capable of picking up an opposing blitzer.

It's also not like Gore came out nowhere to post this sort of production, either. Assuming for a moment that Gore cracks the 1,000-yard mark this season, it will mark the fifth time in six years that he's hit that benchmark, including three seasons in which he had over 1,500 total yards.

So, next time you're at the local watering hole and someone starts a conversation about the NFL's best running backs (hey, it happens) throw Frank Gore's name into the ring.

It's about time he got some publicity.