Andrew Luck on Frank Gore's blocking skills: 'He protects his butt off'

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen was in midsentence answering a question when teammate and running back Frank Gore walked by.
Allen stopped. Looked, pointed and said what many inside the organization have noticed.

"He may be quiet around [the media], but that guy is a beast. I mean a beast," Allen said. "He runs like he's in his 20s still, but what doesn't get talked about or noticed as much as his blocking."

Gore's rushing résumé is well documented -- eight 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his 10-year NFL career -- and he should be the perfect piece to go with quarterback Andrew Luck and the passing game. The Colts finished 22nd in the league in rushing last season, and Luck knows very little about having a player rush for 100 yards in a game because it's only happened once in his 53 career NFL games.

"Frank was born to run and what I mean by that is Frank has a great combination of size and the ability to change direction," Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "But when you look at his leg cycle and his ability to accelerate and not need a lot of room or space or it does not take him a lot of time to get from zero to 10 in a sense. I think that's just a gift that he has, a natural talent. That's one of the many things that have made him an exceptional pro for a long time in this league."

What should quickly become obvious about Gore during the preseason is his ability to block. He excels at being able to pick up the blitzing linebacker or defensive end coming off the edge trying to get to Luck. Gore's ability to do that is significant when you take into consideration the concerns the Colts have on their offensive line.

"He protects his butt off," Luck said. "Maybe one of the best in this generation of football players with protecting the quarterback. I know I'm learning a lot from him about protection and how running backs see things, and I know he's passing it along to the younger running backs. He's a great addition."

Gore had no choice but to be a good blocker. That was the message delivered to him when he was at the University of Miami, which was turning out running backs nonstop back in the 2000s.

"It's grown men out there," Gore said. "I would say that my college coach and my running backs coach in San Francisco, they were similar. If you couldn't protect you couldn't be on the field. I think that's pretty big in this league, especially when you have a guy like No. 12."

Gore isn't wired like some 32-year-old veterans in the league. While some players aren't too keen on training camp practices, Gore wants to be on the field.

Every day for every snap.

You often see him passing up wearing shorts for sweatpants in the 90-degree heat. That's just how he operates.

"Why not practice? I like being out there," Gore said. "I get paid to play football. That's my job and that's how you get better."

That's just Frank Gore, and that's why he's the perfect fit for the Colts.

"The way I know Frank, football is life for Frank," Hamilton said. "What I mean by that is, I don't know if we ever have a conversation where we are not talking about football. Even when I try and probe and ask him, 'How's your family, so on and so forth?' It goes back to, 'Hey coach, what do I need to do to get better?' He has a passion for the game. He's a great teammate and a leader of men. Frank has been a welcome addition to our team."

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