The Engine That Powers the 49ers
Maybe the best draft choice ever made by the 49ers was the 65th overall pick in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft. He was considered a risky pick.
Playing for the Miami Hurricanes, Frank Gore tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in 2002, and then his right ACL in 2003. He played only 28 games with the Hurricanes.
Gore arrived in San Francisco to play for a team that was just plain ‘not very good’. During his first six seasons, they didn’t make the playoffs, in fact, they did not have a .500 record. But Gore persevered.
In only his second season, Gore set a franchise rushing record of 1695 yards. He followed with 1000 yard seasons in 2007, ’08, and ’09. His streak ended in 2010 when he fractured a hip in week 12, but had already run for 853 yards which would have put him over the 1000 yard mark once again.
Gore was not happy. Statistics meant little to him. And, worse yet, he felt that some of his teammates did not share his concern. “It was real tough,” Gore said of his early seasons. “It was tough coming to work, especially for me, coming from a winning program in college. I wasn’t ever used to losing. I used to take it hard.”
In spite of the lack of early success, Gore believed in San Francisco. He was proud to play alongside linebacker Patrick Willis, tight end Vernon Davis, and defensive lineman Justin Smith. He felt that all they needed was a leader.
Returning from his hip injury in the 2011 season, the 49ers had a new coach. Jim Harbaugh accomplished what the previous four coaches could not, he led them to the NFC Championship game in his first season, and now, here they are in the Super Bowl in his second. “I love it. You can get up and walk around with your head up,” Gore said of being part of a winning program again. “Everybody loves you in the city. You want to practice.”
Gore has had over 1200 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. Opposing teams have to prepare for him. At age 29, he isn’t slowing down, and has adjusted well to the new “pistol” offense instituted when Colin Kaepernick became the starting quarterback.
His coach is his biggest fan. Jim Harbaugh remarked: “Nobody does it better than Frank Gore, nobody,” Harbaugh said. “I have the greatest respect for Frank because he has the greatest respect for the game. It’s evidenced by how he plays, every single game, every single day. Nobody does it better than Frank Gore.”
Columnist-The Guardian Express