Only then, McCarthy was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers during Gore’s rookie campaign–his lone season coaching the 12-year veteran, who has gone onto become the league’s 9th all-time leading rusher with 12,572 career rushing yards and counting:
"Sep 25, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks on during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports“I have great respect for Frank Gore,” said McCarthy on Frank Gore’s prestigious playing career Wednesday. “I had the privilege of coaching him as a rookie, you could see right away he was going to be a great player in this league. His instincts and his ability to run between the tackles, and especially back then, the ability to really bounce the football (outside).”“He’s the best I’ve ever had of making yards out of very little, so his ability to get ‘skinny’ in the hole and slice a front. He’s special. His instincts are unique.”“So great career, they’re still relying on him. He’s playing good football, but a very instinctive runner.”"
That’s high praise from a former Super Bowl winning head coach.
The future Hall of Fame running back isn’t quite what he once was in his prime, and rightfully so, given the amount of sheer mileage on his tires and wear-and-tear from running so hard through the trenches–always grinding out yards.
However, he remains rock solid starting for the Colts rushing attack and is on pace to become the franchise’s 1st 1,000 yard rusher since former running back Joseph Addai accomplished the feat back in 2007.
While the Colts collectively have been up-and-down all season, Gore is one of the core players who consistently brings it every Sunday and will fight for every last yard.
McCarthy saw such qualities at a young age regarding Gore, and it’s amazing that he continues to play at such a high level–still showcasing those attributes that have always made him so seemingly special as one of the NFL’s truly all-time great running backs.