Frank Gore, the NFL’s third-all-time leading rusher, doesn’t know if he will be playing football next season. At 37, he wants to make the most of the time he has left in the game. For now, that means one goal.
A win. A single win.
“You don’t want to go 0-16, especially if this is my last year,” he said Sunday after the New York Jets’ 34-28 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. “I can’t go out like that.
“Hopefully, we can get one. And I can’t wait until we get it. I’ll be so happy. If it is my last year, I can’t say I’m going out 0-16.”
The Jets (0-10) are six losses shy of joining the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history.
The Jets missed the playoffs for the 10th straight year, as they were mathematically eliminated on Sunday — their earliest elimination since 1990. It’s the second-longest playoff drought in Jets history, one behind the 1970-80 dry spell.
Gore admitted this could be the most difficult season of his career. He has been a part of two 4-12 seasons, with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017 and the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, his rookie year.
“Yeah, I’d say it’s tough, because it’s the stage of my career,” he said. “I was younger in San Fran and I always felt like, ‘I got time, I got time.’ Now, I don’t know if I’m going to play next year and … I don’t know.
“You just never know. I’ve got to be real with myself, how teams think about my age. They might not want a 38-year-old running back on the team. It’s tough because I don’t know about next year.”
Gore, in his 16th season, rushed for a season-high 61 yards in the loss, scoring his first touchdown for 2020. He now has 15,794 yards, trailing only Walter Payton (16,726) and Emmitt Smith (18,355) on the all-time list.
“You play this game to win,” he said. “What I can say is what keeps me up is how these young kids come in. … I don’t want to say ‘kids,’ I’ll say, ‘young men.’ They come in every week to work their behind off. That keeps me going. I know that they care.”
After getting blown out in six of the first eight losses, the Jets have played competitively in the past two, falling by three points to the New England Patriots and six to the Chargers.
Jets coach Adam Gase dropped to 7-19 in two seasons.
“It’s probably the most frustrated any of us have ever been playing football,” defensive lineman Henry Anderson said.
The Jets could threaten 0-16, as only one of their remaining opponents has a losing record — the Patriots (4-6), whom they face in the finale. Next up is the Miami Dolphins (6-4) at home.
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