Frank Gore will be 38 by the time the 2021 season begins, but Adam Gase wouldn’t be surprised if the running back plays next year.
"I said this a long time ago: Never doubt Frank Gore," Gase said Thursday. "Whatever he wants to do, just don’t doubt him. Don’t doubt him. If he decides he wants to play football again, I would love to see him play as long as he can play."
Gase worked with Gore in San Francisco and then Miami. He brought Gore to the Jets because he felt he could be productive and a positive influence.
Gore, who suffered a bruised lung in last week’s win over Cleveland, led the Jets in rushing with 653 yards, giving him 16,000 for his 16-year career. Only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton rushed for more.
"Frank’s been an inspiration to all of us," Sam Darnold said. "He’s just a special player, a special human being. He was put on this Earth to play football and it was just fun to watch him work every single day."
Gase said it was important to get left guard Alex Lewis back at practice, but he probably won’t be active. Lewis came off the non-football injury list on Wednesday. The Jets placed him on NFI on Dec. 4 to let him seek help with a non-football issue.
"Getting him on the field to practice was the step we wanted to make sure we got to," Gase said. "It would be hard for us to activate him for the game."
Back at practice
Marcus Maye, Neville Hewitt, Bryce Hall, John Franklin-Myers and Chuma Edoga returned to practice after being held out Wednesday as the Jets did contact tracing after running back La’Mical Perine tested positive for COVID-19.
Cornerback Bless Austin didn’t practice for the second straight day (non-injury- related). Gase said Austin’s tests were negative but that he’s not feeling well and the Jets are being cautious.
Not that special
Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer was brutally honest about his group’s performance this year and said there weren’t a lot of highlights. One thing he pointed to was the punt coverage not being up to "our standards." Rookie punter Braden Mann had to make several potential touchdown-saving tackles.
"I expect better from this crew and myself," Boyer said. "I’m not happy with how things went, regardless of situations and how many guys we’ve had to play. We got to do better."