Colts’ Frank Gore quietly working on impressive streak

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HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Frank Gore #23 of the Indianapolis Colts rushes against Andre Hal #29 of the Houston Texans in the second quarter at NRG Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One of the Indianapolis Colts’ elder statesmen is in the midst of an impressive streak, and has little interest in trumpeting it.

Frank Gore’s reaction and expression spoke volumes when he was asked about his streaks of 89 consecutive games and 85 consecutive starts. Each is the longest active streak among NFL running backs.

Gore shrugged slightly. He lowered his eyes a bit.

His body language shouted out, It’s no big deal, man.

“It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing,” Gore said. “I have been blessed, especially in this sport with how physical the game is.

“I don’t think about it (the streak). When I am out there, I try my best to give my teammates everything I’ve got. Go out there and have fun and don’t think about it.”

Gore’s reaction was hardly unexpected. He’s a blue-collar back who doesn’t seek attention or media scrums. He’s approachable in the locker room and after games, but gives the impression he’d just as soon be left alone.

Yet to ignore Gore’s durability and contributions to the Colts offense is a mistake. Keep in mind, he’s 33 and in his 12th season. Most running backs either have retired or should have at that stage of their careers.

The 89 consecutive appearances?

“It’s unheard of . . . at his age to be able to be doing the things that he is doing and still competing and playing at a high level,” said offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. “The thing that is amazing about Frank is you just see him out on the practice field and he is having fun playing football.

“It’s a kid’s game and he is a kid at heart playing a game that he loves and still playing at a high level, which at that position is amazing.”

Since signing Gore to a three-year, $12 million contract during the 2015 offseason, the Colts have made it a point to monitor his workload. He’s averaged 16.2 carries in 25 games in Indy after averaging 16.5 rushing attempts during his 10-year, 148-game stint in San Francisco.

During the bye week, Gore returned to Miami for a bit of R&R. He admitted he “stared into the iPad a little bit” to stay up to speed on the Colts offense, but also “relaxed and watched a little football.”

The goal: be as fresh as possible for the stretch drive.

“I feel good,” Gore said.

Even though the Colts are heavily reliant on Andrew Luck and the passing game, Gore is having a solid season. His 592 yards rank 12th in the NFL and have him on pace for 1,052 yards. He would become the first running back to rush for at least 1,000 yards at age 33 or older since John Riggins in 1984.

“He is just in a really good place right now,” Chudzinski said. “I can’t say enough about how good of football Frank is playing.”

Medical update:

Defensive end Kendall Langford (knee) has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. Cornerback Patrick Robinson (groin) is doubtful and defensive tackle Art Jones (illness) questionable.

The Colts appear to be as healthy as could be expected heading into their 10th game. That’s especially true on offense. When the Colts handled the Titans in Nashville last month, they were without tight end Dwayne Allen, wideouts Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett and guard Jack Mewhort.

All will return Sunday, as will right tackle Joe Reitz, who missed the Green Bay game with a concussion.

Returning for the defense are Pro Bowl safety Mike Adams and tackle Henry Anderson.