Gore, 38, told TMZ Sports that he would join the Bucs for a playoff run if welcomed to. He still produced in his 16th season with 653 yards and two touchdowns in 2020 for the New York Jets.
“Ay, ay, I’m ready,” Gore said. “Best shape I ever been in. I just weighed in at 209. Whatever team who pushing for that Super Bowl run, I’m ready to go in.”
Gore, a five-time pro bowler, became known as an iron man at running back. He reached the third-highest career yardage total in NFL history last season — 16,000. He trails only Emmitt Smith’s 18,355 and Walter Payton’s 16,726.
Running backs in the NFL typically decline in their mid 20s, which makes Gore’s durability and longevity all the more impressive. Gore playing well into his late 30s is as unlikely as a quarterback such as Brady excelling in his mid 40s. Gore considered playing again this season but opted for professional boxing instead.
He said he just wanted “the right circumstance” for playing in the NFL for 2021 according to NFL Network’s Adam Schefter in January 2021. Bleacher Report ranked Tampa Bay as one of the five most likely destinations for Gore. The Bucs making a move for Gore could draw him out of retirement.
“Nah, I’m not done,” Gore told TMZ Sports. “If a Super Bowl-contending team call, I’m all in. I’m all in.”
That didn’t mark the first time in recent weeks where Gore showed his desire to make a comeback. He talked about it on Good Morning Football on Dec. 2.
“It’s gotta be the week going into the Super Bowl,” Gore said on the show. “If they going to the Super Bowl, I’m all-in.”
Where Gore Fits in a Banged Up Bucs Backfield
Gore could fit into the Bucs offense both with his running and catching ability. He has 484 career receptions for 8.2 yards per catch. He also averages 4.3 yards per attempt for his career.
The Bucs have little depth at running back with Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Le’Veon Bell as the main guys. Running backs have otherwise dropped like flies for the Bucs in the second half of the season.
Giovani Bernard went on injured reserve for an MCL injury on Dec. 14. Leonard Fournette injured a hamstring in a Dec. 19 loss, but he could return for the playoffs. Ronald Jones II then injured his ankle on Jan. 2, and he will miss the season finale on Sunday, January 9.
Vaughn, Bell to Carry the Load for Now
Vaughn dealt with a rib injury but will play against Carolina on Sunday. He will shoulder a chunk of the rushing load. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians called Vaughn “a lead back
“I think he’s a lead back,” Arians said on Dec. 27. “He has great running skills, excellent jump-cut ability and he’s worked on his hands. His hands are better. He dropped (a pass on Dec. 26) — it pissed him off — but he has worked on his hands hard. I think he’s a lead dog.”
Bell will also play a role. The recently-acquired back had three carries and three catches against the Jets.
5x Pro Bowl Running Back Wants to Join Buccaneers