Frank Gore rewrote the NFL record book for running backs over the age of 30. As the running back turns 38 years old Friday, Gore can write a new record book for himself if he plays in the NFL this season. Gore hasn’t signed with a team yet — so his NFL future is uncertain — but there’s some firsts for his position he can accomplish if he takes the field in 2021.
First, no running back has ever recorded a carry at the age of 38 (with records first kept in 1950). There have been three fullbacks to record a carry at that age — Lorenzo Neal, Fred McAfee, and Tony Richardson — and neither have logged over five carries in their age-38 season. Gore could beat that mark in a single game if he plays in 2021, especially since he recorded 187 carries last season — at the age of 37.
The most rushing yards for a running back/fullback for a player age 38 or older is Richardson, who finished with five carries for 13 yards in his age-38 season (2010). Richardson actually turned 39 in December of that season, the oldest running back/fullback to record a carry since 1950. For all football players, the record for rushing yards in an age-38 season belongs to Doug Flutie — who rushed for 153 yards in the 2000 season. The most rushing touchdowns for a player in his age-38 season was Josh McCown with five (2017). Notice both players are quarterbacks.
The most rushing yards for a player age 38 or older belongs to Flutie, who rushed for 192 yards at age 39 in 2001 with the San Diego Chargers. McCown’s five touchdowns with the New York Jets in 2017 is still the record for players age-38 or older.
Gore finished with 187 carries and 653 yards and two touchdowns in 2020, as he was the No. 1 running back for the Jets at 37. Gore won’t be asked to carry the load much in 2021 if he signs with a team, but there are plenty of firsts if he plays at age 38. He’ll be the first running back to carry a football and rush for any yards at that age, an impressive feat given the longevity of running backs in this league.
Gore has the most rushing yards (7.161) for a player over the age of 30. Playing at 38 would already add to his Hall of Fame career.