Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore both exceeded expectations last year. As older backs, both were able to run for more than 600 yards – reasonably more than anybody would have expected. And both are indicating they’d like to continue playing.

Gore a few weeks back let it be known that he’d like to finish his career back where he started. If the 49ers are willing to sign him, Gore will be there when training camp opens. He turns 38 in May.

And Peterson also has no intention of walking away. He said in a recent interview with that his goals remain to win a Super Bowl and also break Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record. Peterson says he’d like to play until he’s 40.

“I’m going to keep playing, trying to chase the championship and, God’s willing, within the process of doing that, I’m able to catch Emmitt and pass him,” said Peterson, who turns 36 next month.

All of this is nice, of course, but I don’t know that there’s any team that has any interest in either of these guys. If not for Adam Gase being the coach of the Jets, Gore might not have played last year. And Peterson got cut by Washington in August last year. The Lions picked him up and used him some before demoting him behind D’Andre Swift (when that move came, Peterson admitted that he thought it was past due).

Both of these backs were great runners in the past, but time marches on. And more so with running backs than at other positions, it’s rare to see the older players continue to be productive. In NFL history, only 11 running backs have run for over 500 yards who were 35 years old. Only five running backs who were 36 or 37 have run for over 500 yards (Gore and Marcus Allen have done it twice; John Riggins did it once.)

We’ll see how it plays out. If these guys are able to land roster spots, good for them. But I think we’re seen both Gore and Peterson for the last time in regular-season games. And really, I’m not sure that any team will be interested in bringing them to a training camp.

2020Frank Gore, NYJ371876533.52
1997Marcus Allen, K.C.371245054.111
1996Marcus Allen, K.C.362068304.09
1985John Riggins, Was.361766773.98
2019Frank Gore, Buff.361665993.62
1984John Riggins, Was.353271,2393.814
1964John Henry Johnson, Pitt.352351,0484.57
2004Emmitt Smith, Ariz.352679373.59
1995Marcus Allen, K.C.352078904.35
2018Frank Gore, Mia.351567224.60
2020Adrian Peterson, Det.351566043.97
1983John Riggins, Was.343751,3473.624
2017Frank Gore, Ind.342619613.73
2019Adrian Peterson, Was.342118984.35
1963John Henry Johnson, Pitt.341867734.24
1994Marcus Allen, K.C.341897093.87
1988Tony Dorsett, Den.341817033.95
1961Joe Perry, Balt.341686754.03
1996Earnest Byner, Balt.341596344.04
1976MacArthur Lane, K.C.341625423.45

Statistics compiled using search tools at Ages are as of the end of the listed season.

—Ian Allan