It’s been ten years. Ten years that Frank Gore has been a staple of the San Francisco 49ers offense. Ten years in which he’s been with a franchise that has experienced being both one of the worst teams in the NFL and a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Ten years ago, the 49ers took a chance on a running back from the University of Miami that had both of his knees surgically repaired. Now that it’s been 9,967 yards and 60 touchdowns later, his time in San Francisco’s backfield might be running out.
Before I go any further with this let’s make one thing clear; Gore is not getting cut this season. Not only will the 49ers have to eat about $6.45 million if they do, but Gore still looks to be very productive at age 31. He is, however, entering the final year of his contract and has taken a tremendous amount of punishment during the course of his career so it’s hard to imagine that he will continue on with the franchise after this season.
Before the 2014 draft, one could’ve made the argument that the 49ers had a pretty deep backfield with LaMichael James, Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore. But then they drafted the best running back on the board who also happens to be perfect for the type of offense the 49ers run. I was personally surprised that they drafted Carlos Hyde in the second round but now that the dust has settled, the move makes perfect sense.
The 49ers will no doubt have a scary running attack in the near future with both Hyde and Lattimore in the backfield, but what does that mean for this season? Gore has nearly accumulated 10,000 yards rushing with the franchise and San Francisco will not release him because of the tremendous respect the organization has for him, but coming into training, Gore should still be nervous. The NFL, like all other competitive sports, is a young man’s game and at the moment Gore has a couple of young horses that are working their tails off to get his spot.
Come training camp Gore will have to show that he still has a lot left in the tank and that his knees and the rest of his body will hold up. Statistics in terms of age relative to running backs say that he has an uphill climb, but he’s been counted out before hasn’t he?
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