Miami Dolphins running back Frank Gore talks about being home
Frank Gore Jr. was born with his father's name.
On Thursday, the teenaged Gore saw firsthand how much work it took his dad to earn that name.
Gore Sr. is entering Year 14 of what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career.
Gore Jr. is just wrapping up his sophomore year at Killian High School.
It was take-your-Gore-to-work day Thursday at Dolphins camp, as the Miami Killian football team was invited to watch practice as Miami's pro team wrapped up its second week of OTAs.
"It was pretty cool to watch him practice," Gore Jr. said afterward.
Added his old man: "I was happy to see him. As long as he keeps working and listening to me, he should be fine his next couple of years in high school."
Gore Sr. — a homegrown star who played first for Coral Gables High and then the University of Miami — returned to Miami to finish his career for just these types of experiences.
He has been gone 13 years now — first in San Francisco, and then in Indianapolis — and missed every one of his son's football games since Frank Jr. was 5.
That changed a few weeks back, when Gore caught Killian's spring scrimmage.
Expect him to be a regular at games this fall.
"When I was in San Francisco or when I was in Indianapolis, you hear coaches saying your son is good," Gore said. "Sometimes you think they’re just saying that because of you. Then I got a chance to really see him, and he has a chance to do some great things this year."
Dad is going to do everything in his power to make sure that happens.
They plan to train together all summer.
Both have a lot on the line this fall.
Gore Sr. can become the league's fourth-leading rusher in league history with just more 76 yards. He also is chasing that elusive Super Bowl ring.
Gore Jr., meanwhile, is chasing a college scholarship, knowing that his ability and work ethic are what will determine his future, not his name.
In fact, being Frank Gore Jr. is harder than you might think.
There's no hiding on the football field when you're the son of an active legend.
"Everybody’s out for me," Gore Jr. said. "It’s fun though. I work hard. It’s fun when the target’s on my back."
Being his father's son "just gives me motivation to know that I could do it too, like him," he added.
While football has always been Gore Sr.'s life, he insists he never forced it on his kid.
"I’m not going to push on him to do nothing," Dad said. "Whatever he wants to do, he’s going to do it; not because I played ball, he has to play ball. Me seeing him when he was a little kid playing outside with his bigger cousins, I knew he was going to play football. But if he doesn’t want to play, as long as he gets his grades and does something positive with his life, I’m okay with it."
Someday in the not-too-distant future, there will be only one Frank Gore playing football. While Gore Sr. has so far given Father Time the slip, he knows he cannot forever.
Gore turned 35 a few weeks back, a milestone not only in football (it's ancient for a running back), but in life. Middle age is not too far around the corner.
Even if doesn't seem like it when he puts on a jersey.
"I still feel good," Gore said. "I think about it sometimes. I think about how blessed I am to still be playing a game that I love since I was a kid. I always hear it every year: ‘When you turn this age, you can’t do it anymore.’ Especially with what it took me to get here, to play in this league, with the injuries that I had, and still to be blessed to play this game and have pretty good years, I think that’s a blessing."
So is seeing your kid play the game both love before either get too old.