49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 2, 2011
Frank Gore: I feel like a 22-year-old running back

Note to Frank Gore's agents: He may be the worst guy in the league to attempt a holdout. Gore, who loves playing football perhaps more than any 49er, lasted only four days in trying to force the 49ers into a contract extension. He missed his teammates, the locker-room atmosphere and being on the practice field. Indeed, he looked like a kid in his first training-camp practice today.


As far as that contract extension, coach Jim Harbaugh said he thought "there would be a resolution at some point. ... Frank's a 49er and we want Frank here," Harbaugh said. "We want Frank happy, too."

Here's a transcript of what Gore had to say after his first practice since November:

FG: How's everybody doing doing, baby? I'm doing great.

Q: What led you to come back?
FG: I'm a football player. I missed being out here with my team. I have a new coach and a new playbook I had to learn. Talking to coach Harbaugh before the lockout was here, he had some good stuff. I told him I would be 100 percent behind him. I wanted to be out here with my teammates.

Q: What kind of feedback have you gotten regarding a new contract?
FG: I've just been talking to my teammates. I'm happy to be back to football. I let my agent Drew (Rosenhaus) take care of that. I'm here to get better and try to get this organization to the playoffs.

Q: How did you feel out there today?
FG: I felt like a kid out there. I was happy. It's a blessing to come back from the injury. A lot of people doubted I would be back. I feel good. I feel like a 22-year-old running back out there.

Q: Would you like a new contract before the regular season?
FG: If it happens, it happens. I'm just coming here to get better, learn the playbook and do the best I can for the organization.

Q: For clarification, that was the reason you missed the first four days, was regarding your contract?
FG: Me and Drew, after the season, knowing I was going into my last year (of his contract) and I want to be a 49er forever, for my whole career. We talked about it and what I wanted to do. Things weren't going right. Me and my agent sat down and talked. That's what it was. But I'm happy to be back. I had a great practice and I feel good. I'm taking it one day at a time and just moving forward.

Q: What would the 49ers' all-time rushing record mean to you?
FG: It would be a blessing. We've had some great players here, and in that record book are guys like Jerry Rice. That's a blessing.

Q: Did Drew advise you to stay away the first four days?
FG: We both talked. I won't just put it all on Drew, because he works for me. We came to that agreement (to hold out of camp). But I'm happy I'm back and I'm going to try to get better everyday.

Q: What convinced you to come back?
FG: I missed the game and being with my teammates and coaching staff. Talking to coach Harbaugh before I left (for the lockout), we've got some great stuff for the offense. Going on seven years now, I really that feel with him, this offense is really going to click.

Q: Do you see the holdout as unsuccessful?
FG: Nah. I don't say that. When the contract happens, the time will come. I'm just out here working to help my team get better, to get to the next level and make the playoffs.

Q: Talk to Harbaugh before coming in?
FG: Yeah, I did. He just told me, you know, that I don't have nothing to do with the offers and he would like me to be here, and I'm here.

Q: When did you start feeling 100 percent after hip injury?
FG: Um, I'd say about by mid-summer. You know, doing all the running back drills with coach (Pete) Bommarito. I started feeling rights doing my cuts, doing my jump cuts and stuff and I said, I'll be ready. (Bommarito runs Bommarito Performance Systems in the Miami area).

Q: You seem to be in good shape. How much do you weigh?
FG: I'm just right there - 214, 215, fighting weight. I'm back and ready to go.

How did you study the playbook? Did you talk to Alex Smith and those guys on the phone?
FG: "No, I'm a football player. I catch on real fast. My running backs coach Tom (Rathman) had me in the room for about three or four hours yesterday on my day off, and you know, I catch on fast because I love the game. Like I said, I'm ready to go and I feel good and I'm trying to go forward and get this organization in the right place. And that's to win the West and go to the playoffs."

Q: What do you like about this offense?
FG: "You know, we come to the line, we've got audibles, it's never one play. With this offense, we can win every time we're at the line. What surprised me today is the quarterback, man. Man, he's a rookie, man. He's looking real good, man. He gets in the huddle and he's making great reads. I told him, 'Man, you're doing a great job.' I know Alex is going to be back. I'm just happy to be back, you know? Happy to be back.

Q: On Patrick Willis and Alex Smith saying Gore is a strong influence in the huddle and locker room.
FG: It feels great. If Alex and Pat are saying that, it's got to be true. I saw it today. I came back and watched film to see what the running backs were doing, to see what the line was doing. And I feel like it's a lot calmer when I'm in the huddle and talking and tapping my boys on the butt and getting boys ready to go. We moved forward. Today I thought we had a great practice, and I felt good out there. Like I said, I'm happy to be back. I want to tell my fans, I'm sorry about the little hold up. But I'm back and ready to go to work.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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