Miami Dolphins RB Gore talks to the media
The plan sounds easy enough for the Miami Dolphins: Add veterans with a long list of accomplishments and enviable reputations to improve the team and its culture.
Add these players and reap the benefits, including the much-needed leadership help coach Adam Gase has talked about wanting this offseason.
But what sounds like a cold business transaction of signing a player and instantly getting leadership in return is a bit more complex than it seems.
It doesn't happen like that. I doesn't happen as quickly as that.
Leadership is earned and acknowledged organically.
So Frank Gore and Danny Amendola, two of the proposed leaders on the Dolphins' new 2018 roster, aren't quite there yet.
They're in the growing phase. They're in the introductory phase. The Miami Dolphins' offseason program is only a couple of days old so these men with a combined 22 seasons and 311 NFL games of experience aren't ready to be called leaders.
"I'm not a talker," Gore said Tuesday about his looming leadership role. "But I will show in practice the way I work, the way I love the game and the reasons why I'm still playing at a high level. So when training camp comes, all the guys in my running back room will see how hard I go every day. And once I start making plays here and playing good ball, then I'll feel I have a right to talk in the locker room.
"But right now, I'm a new face. I've got to prove myself to a new coaching staff and also my teammates. So right now, I'm standing in the back, doing what I got to do every day, working hard and getting ready for training camp and for the season."
Imagine that. Frank Gore, 76 yards from becoming the NFL's fourth-leading rusher of all time, standing back for a while?
But that's how everyone agrees it has to be. Because it's hard to join a new team. And it's harder to join a new team and instantly become a leader.
"When the time comes for me to lead, then I'll lead," Amendola said. "Right now I'm trying to flow and trying to get the playbook and trying to learn and adapt to this organization and this facility, the way things are going. It's my second day in the building so everything will work itself out."
It's going to take time for Gore in the running back room and Amendola among the team's receivers to find their voice. Just as it will take some time before guard Josh Sitton and center Daniel Kilgore take their place among offensive linemen.
But if Gore and Amendola are the examples, there's little doubt the renewing of the Dolphins culture this offseason will eventually take. Because both come to Miami with the right mind-set and the right goals.
He wanted to join the Dolphins coming out of the University of Miami in 2005. When that didn't happen, he simply went about being one of the league's best running backs for a generation.
That's the guy Gase hoped for when Gore was signed. And that's the guy who apparently has shown up at the Dolphins' training facility 13 years later, a month short of his 35 birthday.
"He wants me to come out there and be me," Gore said of Gase. "He wants me to go out there and be the football player I've always been. He knows the way I love the game and how much passion I have for the game.
"Like I told him before I signed, if I felt like I couldn't play, I won't play. I still can play and I'll try to do whatever it takes to help this team win.
"I'm going to show this organization they picked the right guy in bringing me in this year.""
Although the Dolphins have not said it, the assumption has been that Gore would play in relief of Kenyan Drake while helping the younger starter grow into his job.
But Gore has a more nuanced view of things.
"Some guys go to different teams and feel like when they get older they just want to ride the coat tails of the other guys," Gore said. "I don't want to do that. I respect every man on this team, but I'm here to still play. Help the young guys, but I want to show my fans in Miami that I still can be a top guy in this league."
The Dolphins needed more of this last season. They needed more players that had individual pride but also the experience to know what the team needs. What it takes to win.
Gore and Amendola, both with Super Bowl experience, know what it takes.
It requires, among other things, healing former wounds. Amendola and Dolphins slot cornerback Bobby McCain, for example, have had their share of fiery moments in the heat of competition. Those are no longer an issue.
"We're brothers now," Amendola said. "We're on the same team. So we're going to fight together and I can't wait to get out there and start working with him and start pushing each other to get better."
Gore sounds like he expects to see a team that bonds much like the successful San Francisco team earlier this decade did under Jim Harbaugh.
"In San Fran we we were like brothers," Gore said. "Offense, defense, even off the field. We hung at each other's houses. In San Fran I didn't want to let Justin Smith down. So I played every play like it was my last play. I didn't want to let Patrick Willis down."
Now, Gore doesn't want to let the Dolphins down.
"I'm going to show this organization," he said, "they picked the right guy in bringing me in this year."