Colts provide help for QB Andrew Luck, sign free agents Frank Gore and Trent Cole

March 11, 2015

At times last year it felt like the Indianapolis Colts roster was made up of star quarterback Andrew Luck and a bunch of no-names, as Luck seemingly carried the bulk of the load while being surrounded generally with average talent.  Apparently, the Colts are trying to rectify that problem this season, as the team agreed to terms with two proven veteran free agents in running back Frank Gore and outside linebacker Trent Cole.

Gore figures to boost the team's running game and ease Luck's burden significantly, as the team's prior trade for running back Trent Richardson failed to produce the reliable ground attack many had expected.

The 5'9" and 217-pound Gore, is a workhorse who joins the Colts after playing 10 seasons (2005-2014) with the San Francisco 49ers, where he earned five Pro Bowl nods (2006, 2009, 2011-13) and became the team’s all-time leader in career rushing attempts (2,442), yards (11,073), touchdowns (64), 1,000-yard seasons (eight), and 100-yard games (38). He also ranks second in team history in career receptions (342) and receiving yards (2,883) by a running back.

Gore is the 11th player in NFL history to record at least eight 1,000-yard seasons and currently ranks second among all active NFL players in rushing attempts and yards and fifth in touchdowns. He ranks 20th in NFL history in career rushing yards.

Last season, Gore started all 16 games for the third consecutive year and registered 255 rushes for 1,106 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 11 receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown. It marked his fourth straight year rushing for over 1,100 yards.

Since being selected by the 49ers in the third round (65th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft, Gore has totaled the most rushing yards, second-most rushing attempts, and has tied for the sixth-most rushing touchdowns of any player in the NFL over that span. In eight postseason starts, he has notched 140 carries for 646 yards (4.6 avg.) and five touchdowns, in addition to 18 receptions for 167 yards.

Few backs can boast a resume equal to Gore, the only question is whether he still has anything left in the tank after accumulating all those miles.

“I take it one year at a time," said Gore, addressing the concerns over his age. "I know that I still love the game. I know that I train very hard. I felt more than healthy in training. Still got love for it and I think that’s why I’m going to be successful.”

Meanwhile, the Cole signing should provide benefits on the defensive side of the ball, as last season Cole recorded 64 tackles (38 solo), 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two passes defensed, starting in 15 games. He joined Vinny Curry as the only pair of teammates in the NFL in 2014 with at least 6.5 sacks and three forced fumbles apiece.

The 6'3" and 270-pound Cole, was named to two Pro Bowls (2007, 2009) and was an Associated Press Second Team All-Pro (2009) in 10 seasons (2005-2014) with the Philadelphia Eagles. He posted the second-most career sacks (85.5) and double-digit sack seasons (four) in Eagles history behind Reggie White, while his 20 career multiple-sack games rank third in team history behind White and Clyde Simmons. Cole currently ranks 11th in career sacks among active NFL players.

In 2007, Cole set single-season career highs in tackles (103), sacks (12.5) and forced fumbles (four). He also notched 12.5 sacks in 2009 and 10.0-or-more quarterback takedowns in three-straight seasons from 2009-2011.

For his career, Cole has started 145-of-155 games, totaling 795 tackles (495 solo), 85.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, 16 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and one interception returned for a touchdown. He has started eight postseason contests, registering 47 tackles (31 solo), 2.5 sacks and two passes defensed. Originally a fifth-round draft pick (146th overall) of the Eagles in 2005, Cole was named to the USA Today All-Joe Team in three consecutive seasons from 2006-08.

By Staff of and news services

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