Thursday, August 22, 2019

"The Legendary Workout Stories of Frank Gore, Football’s Indestructible Force"

Kevin Clark for The Ringer:

“You have to love the game,” Gore said. “Then you have to stay around younger guys at the position. They will keep you honest.”

This last part is the most intriguing part of Gore’s routine. He thinks his secret weapon is training with and competing against as many young players as possible. Basically, he routinely owns them.

He wants to beat them. He often does. His rationale is simple: He’s going to be OK if he can hang with the youngest group of NFL players he can find. He started with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew a decade ago and now has a group that includes Texans running back Lamar Miller (28 years old), Steelers running back James Conner (24), and Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (24). These workouts take place at a facility in South Florida where Gore works out with his trainer Pete Bommarito. Gore has been doing it so long that his group of training partners now includes his son, Frank Gore Jr., who is committed to play football at Florida Atlantic University in 2020. Bommarito has known Gore’s family for years, and there have been many lighthearted moments. But during these workouts, Gore Jr. is another young running back to Gore. “You would expect to see a father-son relationship, and you really don’t,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s like any other running back in the system.”

A typical workout goes like this: Gore competes hard against everyone in every drill and at least holds his own, even against players much faster or younger than him. Typically, by the end, he’s outlasts everyone. Jones-Drew, a longtime NFL running back who is now an NFL Network analyst, said of Gore’s training regimen: “We would condition on Fridays and Frank wasn’t the fastest, but he would always beat you on the last few drills and say, ‘I got you.’

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If he’s going to run at 7:30 [a.m.] and you’re in his group, you better not have gone out the night before and look like a train wreck about to bring the whole group down.”

So devoted is Gore to competing with young players that he seeks them out. “I noticed he liked training with the young dudes,” Lamar Miller said. In 2016, Miller failed to show up for workouts for a few days. “He calls me and says, ‘Hey where are you at?’” Miller said he was at the University of Miami training with younger players, including Duke Johnson. “The next day he just shows up, just to compete,” Miller said. “It was a conditioning day, and he is such a competitive guy, and he upped the intensity.”