This offseason for the New York Jets was a classic case of out with the old and in with the new.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it is the start of a new era on 1 Jets Drive.
One of those players that were shown the door is longtime NFL star, Frank Gore. The legendary running back spent a season with the Jets and had a chance to reunite with his old coach Adam Gase.
At 38 years of age, he was one of the rare athletes that had a choice to make this offseason. When the NFL is done with most players, they know because their phone doesn’t ring. That didn’t happen to Gore, per NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, several “teams called this offseason and he politely declined.”
It’s not because he doesn’t think he has it anymore, quite the opposite actually, he’s ready for a new challenge at this stage of his life and that includes a dramatic career change.
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From the Gridiron to the Ring
“I’ve been training for both — football and boxing,” Gore told NFL.com. “I’ve always loved boxing, so that’s what I’ve been doing. And we’re trying to make a fight happen. If we do that, you’ll see me in the ring.”
Boxing used to be the cat’s pajamas, but the sport has fallen by the wayside over the last 20 years. Although recently there has been an uptick in popularity due to celebrity big name fights.
For example, YouTube sensation Jake Paul has been involved in several high profile boxing matches:
- Nate Robinson (former NBA star)
- Ben Askren (former MMA fighter)
- Tyron Woodley (current MMA star)
On the surface, they seem ridiculous, but it’s almost like driving by a car accident you don’t want to look at what happened, but we all know you do anyway.
Over the last five weeks, Gore has been exclusively training in the boxing ring but he hasn’t completely ruled out eventually returning to the NFL.
Right now there is a “high profile fight in the works for Gore”, per Rapoport. The veteran tailback says they’re trying “to make a fight happen” and we’ll see how things play out.
Can We Please Have a Changing of the Guard?
Gore is going to one day end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but it won’t be because of his stint with the Jets in 2020.
The veteran toted the rock an unbelievable 187 times for 653 yards and two touchdowns. Although the worst part was his average yards per clip was, checks notes, 3.5 per rush.
For a team that finished 2-14 the constant leaning on a veteran running back who is far closer to the end of his career than the beginning, was strange, to say the least.
Fast forward to the current Jets and we have a similar issue happening with a new coaching staff and a different running back in the backfield.
Here was the running back distribution in Week 1 vs the Carolina Panthers in terms of carries, targets:
Once again a veteran is leading the group, despite younger and more intriguing options at the position.
Coleman is a good guy to have on the roster who has an immense level of scheme familiarity, but he isn’t the right guy toting the rock as the main squeeze of this running back rotation. The offseason started with an out with the old and in with the new mentality, it’s time to hit the refresh button on that once again.
Johnson and Carter should be the 1-2 punch for this offense. They’re younger, more explosive, and clearly have a far higher upside than the seasoned veteran that is past his prime.
Hopefully, the green and white can learn from their mistakes of the past and play the young bucks sooner rather than later.