Entering his 16th year in the NFL this season, Frank Gore likely knew he wasn't going to find a starting job anywhere around the league. So, as he decided once again to own the title of oldest running back in the NFL for another season, Gore wanted to go play for a team with a dynamic running game and a lead back he thought he could complement well.
Gore found that with the Jets and Le'Veon Bell.
The five-time Pro Bowler spoke with the media on Thursday via Zoom, where he mentioned that playing for head coach Adam Gase once again -- he did so with the Miami Dolphins in 2018 and earlier in his career with San Francisco when Gase was an assistant -- was a big reason why he joined Gang Green. But the prospect of working with Bell, a running back he knows very well, was intriguing.
Actually, it appeared to be a no-brainer for Gore. Bell is someone that Gore has a high level of respect for, as he's seen his work on the field up close and personal. Both backs train in Florida during the offseason, and they've done so together. So Gore has experienced what it's like to have someone match his intensity, and he can't wait for it to happen at practice every day.
"I haven't talked to him since the last game of last year, and I told him I needed a jersey to put on my wall just because I respect his game and I respect the way he prepares himself to get ready for the season," Gore said. "I've been knowing Le'Veon since he was a rookie, when he was coming into the league and at the combine."
This will still be a bit of a different situation for Gore, being that Bell will be the primary back. Gore was brought in to take some of that massive workload from last season off Bell's back, but he is still the No. 2.
And Gore went through that last season with the Buffalo Bills. After getting starts to kick off the year, a new direction was taken when Devin Singletary jumped Gore on the depth chart. Singletary had a great rookie season, while Gore finished with a career-low 599 yards.
Gore has always been a starter until that happened last season. So how will he feel about playing behind Bell off the rip?
"It will be fun, man," he said. "I've been around a bunch of talented running backs in my career, college and NFL. I'm going to do whatever it takes to help him and help the other guys."
If you know Gore, you know that's how he'd respond. The 37-year-old has always been a team player first, and it showed when he continuously brought up how "blessed" he was to still be playing. He knows his snap count is winding down, and teams will be looking for more youthful options.
So the only thing he can control is his work ethic, and that's something Gore and the Jets know will be impactful this season.
"[Gase] just told me to be me," Gore said when asked how Gase plans to use him. "Come in and be the guy I've always been. And that's come in to work, be the first guy in the building, and practice like it's my last."
Bell has gotten a taste of how Gore operates, but he will truly see that workhorse mentality day in and day out. It should be a great motivator to be able to work closely with a future Hall of Famer in Gore.
The on-field product is what the Jets are focused on, though, and Gore perfectly complements Bell's patient, slashing way of running the ball. Ground-and-pound is the epitome of Gore's game, so having those two together should be fun to watch.