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Bills RB Frank Gore Jr. motivated by going undrafted: 'There's no way 257 people [were] better than me'

Undrafted but not unmotivated, Frank Gore Jr. is open that his draft story will fuel him.

The namesake of the NFL's third all-time leading rusher, Gore saw 257 prospects -- including 20 running backs -- have their name called in April's event before he ultimately signed on with the Bills as a rookie free agent.

As Buffalo held its first day of rookie minicamp Friday, the 22-year-old had his first opportunity to speak on the experience and to begin to prove himself.

"It pushed me a lot," Gore said regarding the motivation from being undrafted. "I feel like there's no way 257 people [were] better than me in this draft, but now that that process is over, I'm a Bill. I'm here to compete and I'm here to push my teammates and push the running back room and try to get on special teams."

Although he didn't do it at a Power Five conference, Gore pieced together a more prolific collegiate career in four years at Southern Mississippi than a number of the drafted RBs.

His stats were comparable to Kentucky's Ray Davis, whom the Bills selected in the fourth round. Davis left school with 4,388 yards from scrimmage, 41 total touchdowns and a 4.9 yards-per-carry average in 44 games.

Gore, meanwhile, suited up for 47 games and produced 4,714 scrimmage yards, 30 total TDs and a 5.3 yards-per-carry average.

The knocks on Gore, standing at 5-foot-8, were his lack of size and lack of burst considering he's a smaller back. Those weaknesses, in part, led to teams bypassing him in the draft.

His fall also led him to Buffalo, though -- exactly where he and his father, Frank Gore, hoped he'd end up. The elder Gore spent his penultimate season with the Bills in 2019 at age 36, which allowed his son a glimpse of the environment before heading off to college.

Having seen what could be, Gore said he was "praying and hoping" through it all he would come to Buffalo.

"It was relieving," he said of getting the call to sign. "Knowing that my dad wanted me here, I wanted to be here. When me and [running backs] coach [Kelly Skipper] met over the process I just got the vibe that he's the type of coach I need to get better and the type of coach I want to become the best player that I can possibly be."

Now that he's arrived, he'll look to carve out a role in a RB room that already has depth and a budding workhorse. Along with the other rookie, Davis, Buffalo currently employs Ty Johnson and Darrynton Evans for depth behind James Cook, who eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing last season and got stronger as the year wore on, averaging 19.5 touches per game during the team's last 10 contests (including playoffs).

The odds are stacked against an undersized undrafted free agent. Regardless, Gore knows he still has a chance despite the couple hundred players drafted in his place.

"I'm here now and I'm here to prove people wrong," he said.

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