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August 31, 2011
Gore driven by loyalty, desire to be a lifetime 49er

Frank Gore admits he entered the NFL with a chip on his shoulder in 2005 and that it hasn't shrunk in the six seasons since. There were five running backs drafted ahead of him - Gore was taken with the first pick in the third round, 65th overall -- and he ticked off their names in quick succession today: Ronnie Brown (2nd), Cedric Benson (4th), Cadillac Williams (5th), J.J. Arrington (44th), Eric Shelton (54th)


"I told myself when I came into the league that I'm going to show everybody that they passed up the best back," Gore said. "Look at the career, look at the numbers, and it shows. I do carry that chip on my shoulder, and I'll continue to carry that on my shoulder."

It also helps explain why Gore very much wants to end his career with the 49ers. During a conference call, Gore cited the fans and his talented teammates as reasons for staying in San Francisco. But he said the initial faith the team displayed on draft day in 2005 was a big factor, and one that he wanted to repay.

Many of the running backs on that list, indeed many of the top running backs in the league, are playing for teams other than the ones that drafted them. That's true of LaDainian Tomlinson, the tailback that Gore tried to emulate early in his career. And he list several others, like Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson, who fit that category.

"The list goes on," Gore said. "The (49ers) stepped up and showed they want me here for my whole career."

Gore has one year remaining on his previous contract, and he signed a three-year, $21 million extension to that contract today. That would make him a 49er through 2014, which would be his 10th season.

Asked if he would call it quits after a decade in the league, Gore said it was too soon to say. He said his body felt good at age 28 and that if he's still feeling fine at age 32 he'll continue to play.

He said he wanted to see his picture on the 49ers' wall of 10-year players and that he wanted to break some records. He's 931 yards from a big one - passing Joe "The Jet" Perry as the franchise's all-time leading rusher.

Gore said that he's joked with general manager Trent Baalke about being a talent evaluator for the 49ers when his playing career ends. Indeed, both former head coach Mike Nolan and former general manager Scot McCloughan valued Gore's opinions of teammates, seeking his advice as to who was a player and who was a phony.

Gore said that's merely a result of being around a lot of skilled players at the University of Miami. It gave him a good eye for talent. Gore, who is never out of position, is mostly quiet during practices. But he's always observing, especially during live-contact drills. "Seeing who shies away from contact and who's going to bring it every time," he said.

-- 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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