April 17 (UPI) — Frank Gore is a 13-year NFL veteran, has been to five Pro Bowls and ranks No. 5 all time in rushing yards and attempts.
But he is still on a quest to prove himself.
That’s what the 34-year-old running back said when he was introduced to the media for the first time as a member of the Miami Dolphins Tuesday at the team’s training facility in Davie, Fla. Gore is a homegrown product of South Florida. He starred at Coral Gables High School before playing alongside Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee and other stars at the University of Miami.
He entered the NFL in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Gore went on to play 10 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers — appearing in a Super Bowl in 2013 — before joining the Indianapolis Colts in free agency during the 2015 offseason.
Despite worn tread on the tires, Gore has maintained productivity and durability. He has started all 16 games in each of the last six seasons.
“First of all, I’d have to say it has to be the man up above,” Gore said. “Without him, I don’t think I could do it at all. The way I train in the offseason and I think the way I love the game — you have to love the game to keep playing this long — I think that’s what it is.”
The Dolphins traded away bell cow running back Jay Ajayi in 2017 to the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. After Ajayi’s departure, Kenyan Drake emerged as a force, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and running for 644 yards and three scores on 133 attempts.
If Gore wants to be the starter in Miami in 2018, he’ll likely need to earn the job in training camp. Gore wouldn’t give specifics when asked if the Dolphins told him what role he would have in the offense.
“They want me to come out there and be me,” Gore said. “They want me to come out there and be the football player I’ve always been. I’ve known Adam since 2007 or 2008. He knows I love the game and how much passion I have for the game. Like I told him before I signed, if I felt like I couldn’t play, I won’t play. I know I still can play and I’m going to try to do whatever it takes to help this team win.”
Gore says he isn’t much of a vocal force, but he intends to lead by example.
“I’m not a talker; but I will show in practice the way that I work and the way I love the game and the reason I’m still playing at a high level. So when training camp comes, all of my guys in my running back room will see how much and how hard I go every day,” Gore said. “Once I start making plays here and playing good ball, then I’ll feel like I have the right to talk in the locker room.”
“Right now, I’m a new face. I have to prove myself to the coaching staff and also my teammates. Right now I’m just standing in the back, doing what I have to do every day, working hard and getting ready for training camp and for the season.”
Danny Amendola is another player with experience when it comes to showing up in big moments and letting his play do the talking. The former New England Patriots wide receiver was also introduced Tuesday in Davie.
Amendola, 32, had one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, pulling in 61 receptions for 659 yards and two touchdowns. The two-time Super Bowl champion joined the Patriots’ AFC East foe in March on a two-year, $12 million contract.
While adding Gore has it’s benefits, the veteran running back isn’t filling as glaring of a need as the one Amendola is tasked with. The slot wide receiver is being plugged into the role filled by NFL receptions leader Jarvis Landry in 2017.
Amendola says he is already working with Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He is also “excited to be a part of a group playing with him.”
The wide receiver also brings a winning pedigree to the Dolphins. The Patriots posted a 63-17 record during his tenure with the franchise. Miami was 38-42 during that stretch. Amendola said he’s willing to share that wealth of knowledge and fill a leadership role, at the right time.
“When the time is to come for me to lead, then I’ll lead,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to flow and get the playbook, trying to learn, trying to adapt to this organization, to this facility and the way things are going. It’s my second day in the building. Everything will work itself out.”
Dolphins veterans reported to voluntary offseason workouts on Monday. The nine-week offseason program concludes on June 14. The Dolphins have OTAs from May 22 to May 24, May 29 to May 31 and June 11 to June 14. Mandatory minicamp is set for June 5 to June 7.