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At 30 years of age, Frank Gore is on the verge of a historic career milestone. It's one which can only be attained through consistency, durability and prolonged effectiveness.
Gore is in his ninth season with the San Francisco 49ers after being drafted in the third round and is now 47 yards shy of the highly coveted 10,000-yard rushing plateau.
Back in 2005, I happened to be in the same draft class as this underappreciated running back, and I remember bumping into him at the rookie symposium down in Palm Beach, Fla.
My first thought was that this guy was surprisingly short (5'9", 217 lbs, in fact) and didn’t seem to possess the physical stature of a running back who can withstand nearly a decade of wear and tear.
His unimpressive 4.58-second 40-yard dash time didn’t send scouts clamoring over him. In fact, Gore entered the league with the stigma of being injury-prone after multiple knee surgeries during his time at “The U.”
Surprisingly, Gore shook the injury bug that plagued his collegiate days and managed to string together a highly productive NFL career, surpassing the 1,000-yard rushing mark seven times while averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
He is on the verge of becoming only the third active running back in the league to amass 10,000 yards rushing. The other two are Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson.
The team Gore will be looking to hit the mark against is Arizona, which happens to own the best rush defense in the NFL. The Cardinals' 84.5 yards-per-game allowed is tops in the league, and their 3.7 yards per carry is ranked second overall.
The Cardinals need to win and have the Buccaneers beat the Saints in New Orleans to make the playoffs, so Gore will have to earn every one of those 47 yards on Sunday.