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Bills running back Frank Gore 'very blessed' to become NFL's No. 3 career rushing leader

With a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter of the Buffalo Bills’ 20-3 win Sunday over the Denver Broncos, running back Frank Gore became the NFL’s third-leading career rusher. The 36-year-old 15-year veteran surpassed the 15,269-yard mark set by Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.

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Still ahead of Gore (now at 15,289 yards) are Walter Payton (16,726) and the all-time leader, Emmitt Smith (18,355).

“I’m happy I was able to hit this milestone at home in front of the Buffalo fans,” said Gore, who is in his first season with Buffalo. “It hasn’t been an easy road to get to Year 15, but I am very blessed.”

After five Pro Bowls and 10 years in San Francisco, Gore played three years in Indianapolis before last year with Miami and Buffalo this year. After some thought he was injury-prone coming out of the University of Miami, Gore has played in 217 of 231 possible games

“They told me I would be [in the NFL] two or three years. When I got drafted in the third round, they said San Francisco reached on me,” Gore said Suday. “After the game, when I saw all the cameras, I was like, ‘Man, I passed Barry.’ Barry is one of the best, if not the best to do it. … And I’m a guy who they said wouldn’t be in the league more than two or three years, and I got a chance to pass him today. I’m blessed.”

Gore was the sixth running back selected in the 2005 NFL Draft, three of which went in the first five picks: Ronnie Brown (second), Cedric Benson (fourth) and Cadillac Williams (fifth). Part of the reason Gore went 65th overall is because he had two ACL surgeries at Miami, in 2002 and 2003. Then, after his rookie year in the NFL, he had both shoulders operated on.

But he became the 49ers’ starter in 2006, then set a franchise record with 1,695 rushing yards, his career high.

“When I came out [of college], everybody said I was injury-prone, and I just wanted to show them how tough I was and how much I love the game,” Gore told Sports Illustrated in 2017. “That’s what that year was about. I got the surgeries after that first year in San Francisco. Both shoulders.

“After the surgeries, I respected Ronnie Brown, I respected Benson, I respected Cadillac. But I told people, ‘Once I get healthy I WILL NEVER be outrushed by any of those guys. No one in my draft class will ever outrush me again. That second year I proved that.

“How I did that … I don’t know. It’s not me. It’s God. God got me here. God and hard work. Respecting the game. Love, man. Love. Love the game. Love my teammates. Every time I get ready to strap up, show the world today that no one is better.”

Gore’s 15th season will continue Thursday with a Thanksgiving Day game at Dallas. Gore has started seven of 11 games for Buffalo (8-3) and is the team’s leading rusher with 541 yards on 137 attempts.

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