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SANTA CLARA, California – Even as he spent his last six seasons playing for other NFL teams, running back Frank Gore never stopped behaving like a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
Gore, 39, would look the long way from the team that picked him in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft and drove the ups and downs that came over the last half-dozen years of his NFL career.
All of this made it easy for Gore to ensure that when the time came, he would walk away from the game as a member of the team that he never stopped loving. On Thursday, the Niners announced that Gore had signed a one-day contract to retire as a 49er and that he will be included in the franchise’s Edward DeBartolo Sr. Hall of Fame at a match in the 2022 NFL season.
“Frank had to overcome many challenges when he entered the NFL and is now leaving the game not only as one of the best backs in NFL history, but as one of the best football players ever,” Niner CEO Jed York said in a declaration. “Frank’s 16-year NFL career is a testament to his endurance, having played in more games than any other running back in league history. His gravel, toughness and commitment to greatness earned him respect from his coaches, teammates and opponents. “We knew it. This day would come when Frank would retire a 49er and we look forward to The Faithful celebrating his inauguration in the 49ers Hall of Fame at Levi’s Stadium next season.”
Gore’s official retirement comes after 16 NFL seasons, 10 of which were spent making a resume as the most productive runback in 49’s history. During his time in San Francisco, Gore became the franchise leader in career rushing yards (11,703) and touchdowns (64), and his 13,956 yards from scrimmage are only number two after receiver Jerry Rice in franchise annals.
Along the way, Gore achieved second-team All-Pro honors in 2006 and five Pro Bowl nods, and he was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team in the 2010s.
All of this came after the Niners used the No. 65 pick in 2005 on Gore, even though he twice tore the ACL in his left knee twice while at the University of Miami.
“One of the very first things I told the 49ers organization when they drafted me in 2005 was that they got the right guy,” Gore said. “I knew early on that I would not let my college career define me in terms of injuries and that I would have to train a lot of people to get to where I wanted to be. After 10 years in San Francisco and 16 years in the NFL, I can safely say I put everything I had into the football game.Football was and is everything to me.From meetings and movie studios to training and just being in the locker room, it all meant the world to me I is happy to officially close this chapter of my life and proud of what I was able to accomplish and the legacy I leave behind. “
The legacy Gore leaves behind is one that few running backs in NFL history can match.
After traveling for a two-year stay with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015, Gore continued to play for the Miami Dolphins in 2018, the Buffalo Bills in 2019 and the New York Jets in 2020. He did not play in 2021.
With all of those stops put together, Gore retires as the league’s third leading rusher, posting 16,000 yards on 3,735 carries for his 16-year career. Both of those totals follow only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton in the league’s record books. Gore added 81 rushing touchdowns, 484 receptions for 3,985 yards and 18 receiving scores.
Gore said in April that he intended to retire from Niner, and York had said several times since Gore’s departure that the team would be happy to make it happen when the time came.
The announcement that Gore will join the team’s Hall of Fame was a natural addition to Gore’s announcement of retirement. He will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2026.
“This organization will always be a part of me, one that I will forever connect with,” Gore said. “I will talk about San Francisco as ‘us’ and ‘us’ for the rest of my life and will support the 49ers and The Faithful in every way possible.”