Erica A. Hernandez- Sun Sentinel
Frank Gore, at 5 feet 9, isn’t the tallest player in the NFL, but he had a few feet on the people he was surrounded by at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center.
The former Miami Hurricane walked in the front door Tuesday decked out in his black and red San Francisco 49ers gear and made his way through the summer campers to the back of the center, where Bommarito Performance Systems (BPS) is housed.
On the artificial turf, Gore was more at home amongst his own. The 30-year-old running back joined a group of about 10 other running backs and 30 other NFL players for the start of training.
“This is a good sports complex that has everything that we need,” said owner Pete Bommarito. “But we really like the community they’ve built within this Jewish community center.”
Bommarito started his company in 2004 after working at the IMG Sports Academy in Bradenton. The center has two locations, one in Davie and the main location in North Miami Beach within the Jewish Community Center. Bommarito says most players attend training at the Miami Beach location because it’s bigger and centrally located.
With about 75 employees at both locations, BPS helps athletes with training in footwork, strength endurance, power, agility, movement, position work and aquatics. The center also offers nutritional guidance from a private chef, physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractics and Pilates and yoga classes.
The company also has programs for youths, high school and college athletes. Most recently, BPS hosted and trained Plantation’s Sloane Stephens before her Wimbledon outing.
It’s the center’s NFL draft prep that Bommarito credits with drawing NFL players back for year-round training. It’s what drew Gore to Bommarito after graduating from Miami. Gore went through Bommarito’s draft prep before being drafted by San Francisco in 2005.
“I look like I’m in shape, right?” Gore asked with a chuckle. “I feel great, I feel good … and I’m the oldest one out here now.”
Gore is part of a large group of running backs who turn to BPS in addition to their training regimen. Running backs Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars), Jonathan Dwyer and Le’Veon Bell (Steelers), Rashad Jennings (Raiders), Andre Brown (Giants), Isaiah Pead (Rams), Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts), Ben Tate (Texans), Giovanni Bernard (Bengals), Jonathan Stewart (Panthers), Mikel Leshoure (Lions) and Lamar Miller (Dolphins) are all a part of this summer’s crew.
“Seeing all the guys I compete against, a young batch, I can compare my speed and my quickness against their quickness. It lets me know that I’ve got a lot more left in my tank,” Gore said.
“Pete is a good guy, he’s helped me out a lot,” Gore said. “I like coming out here to compete and see other top guys who have been successful in the league. I can compare my talent to their talent to get me ready for the season.”
Besides the running backs, BPS sees its fair share of former Hurricane players.
Along with Gore and Miller, former Hurricane and current Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke was one of the first players out on the turf Tuesday. He was joined by his cousin, David Van Dyke, a Tennessee State University defensive back and Booker T. Washington graduate.
“It’s legit, it’s always high intensity with Pete,” DeMarcus Van Dyke said. “It’s the best of both worlds training down here: I’ve got my family, the great weather and the beaches.”
Like Gore, it was Bommarito’s draft prep that brought Van Dyke to the center in 2011.
Bommarito Performance has trained more than 200 NFL players.
In the weeks before NFL training camps officially start, Bommarito had almost the entire Baltimore Ravens team out on the turf and in the weight rooms of the community center. The team departed from Miami at the beginning of the second week in July to attend longtime Bommarito trainee Torrey Smith’s wedding on July 11.