Despite the chips, his diet now revolves around lean meat, and he allows himself cheat meals on Sundays. He started boxing midway through his career to build endurance and hand-eye coordination without the heavy impact that regular cardio had on his legs.
That boxing is a respite should say everything about Gore’s capacity for pain. In addition to his two A.C.L. tears in college, he has had double shoulder surgery (2005), three ankle injuries (2007, ’08, ’09), a hip fracture (2010), a concussion (2014), another shoulder injury (2017) and a sprained foot (2018). Despite it all, he has been on the injured reserve list only twice in his career.
He has managed to miss only two games since 2011, but there are days now when Gore is too sore or beat up to practice, such as the week after the Patriots game, when he needed an extra day off to recover. There are other days when he’ll spend six hours at the training facility, working out for two and spending the other four rehabbing and trying to stay ahead of injuries.
Though he still savors outworking younger running backs, Gore has long been a mentor, too. In 2007, when his mother, Lizzie, died during the football season, Robinson noticed a big difference in his demeanor.
“It seemed to stop being about him and being more about the team,” Robinson said. “I know it was a loss in his life personally, but I think it was a gain in his life at the same time because he gained such a level of calmness, such a level of perspective. He became a better teammate.”
Gore has taken Singletary, the Bills’ third-round pick in the 2019 draft, under his wing. It’s important to him, Gore said, to be able to look back once he is finished playing and know he was able to pass down his knowledge to the next generation.
“Even when he’s not in, he’s still back there saying, ‘This play is going to go here’ or ‘This play is going to go here,’” said Ken Dorsey, the Bills’ quarterbacks coach, who has known Gore since 2001, when Gore was a freshman at Miami and Dorsey was the team’s starting quarterback.
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