Frank Gore retires: NFL’s No. 3 all-time rusher walks away after signing one-day contract with 49ers

Frank Gore officially retired from the NFL as one of the greatest running backs in league history, calling it a career after 16 seasons on Thursday. Gore signed a one-day contract with the San Francisco 49ers to retire with the team that drafted him. Gore compiled 11,073 of his 16,000 career rushing yards in San Francisco. Gore had confirmed his plans to walk away from the game as a 49er earlier this offseason.

Following his retirement announcement, the team revealed he will be inducted into the 49ers’ Hall of Fame. 49ers CEO Jed York praised Gore’s “grit, toughness and commitment to greatness” in the announcement.

“Frank had to overcome many challenges upon entering the NFL and now leaves the game not only as one of the best backs in NFL history, but one of the best football players ever. Frank’s 16-year NFL career is a testament to his durability, having played in more games than any other running back in league history,” York said.

Gore also reflected on his time in San Francisco, going all the way back to when the team drafted him in 2005.

“One of the very first things I told the 49ers organization when they drafted me in 2005 was that they got the right guy,” said Gore.

The 39-year-old thanked his friends, family, his former coaches, teammates and the York family for what they did for him throughout his career.

Gore commented on what it means to become the 31st member in the 49ers Hall of Fame, saying, “Being inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame, one of the most historic franchises in all of sports, is something that is hard to put into words . This organization will always be a part of me, one that I will forever associate myself with. I will talk about San Francisco as ‘we’ and ‘us’ for the rest of my life, and will support the 49ers and The Faithful in every way possible.”

Gore retires with the third-most rushing yards in NFL history (16,000) and the fifth-most all-purpose yards in NFL history (19,992). His 3,735 career attempts are third in NFL history and he is just one of 23 players in league history with 100 total touchdowns. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the 2010s All-Decade Team, Gore had nine career 1,000-yard seasons and was the definition of consistency at running back.

Gore is the greatest running back in NFL history after the age of 30, which is where he sealed his Hall of Fame candidacy. He finished with 7,161 yards since turning 30, 1,372 more than Emmitt Smith (5,789) — who was second on the all-time list. Four of the top-five running backs in rushing yards after turning 30 are in the Hall of Fame.

Gore finished with 187 carries and 653 yards and two touchdowns in 2020, as he was the No. 1 running back for the New York Jets at 37. He did not play in 2021, but was the oldest player to lead his team in rushing in NFL history.

Here are the NFL records Gore owns:

  • Most seasons with 1,200 yards from scrimmage — 12
  • Most consecutive seasons with at least 500 yards rushing — 16
  • Most consecutive seasons with at least 600 yards rushing — 14
  • Most consecutive seasons with at least 700 yards rushing — 13 (tied with Smith)
  • Most career games by an NFL running back — 241

Gore is the first player in NFL history with 12 consecutive seasons of 1,200 yards from scrimmage. He joins Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, and Curtis Martin as the only players with nine 1,000-yard rushing campaigns. Only Smith and Payton have more rushing yards than Gore.

Gore’s longevity at running back certainly makes his career one of the most unique for his position, making his records for running backs 30 or over hard to reach at a position where most players are retired before they reach that mark. His performance over 30 is one of the great achievements in league history.