49ers

Frank Gore: 'Still working my behind off and still loving it' at age 34

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AP

Frank Gore: 'Still working my behind off and still loving it' at age 34

Running back Frank Gore entered the 2005 NFL Draft with enough question marks to be considered a "reach" when the 49ers selected him with the first pick in the third round.

Physically, Gore had already sustained two ACL tears during his college career at Miami. And NFL doctors had a difficult time signing off on another part of his anatomy, too.

“I took a chance,” former 49ers personnel chief Scot McCloughan said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “And the majority of the time when you take that chance, you get burned on it because of the medical.

“It’s not just the knees. It was his shoulders, too. I had to almost talk the doctors into passing him. I was like, ‘Come on, guys, work with me here.’ Because I liked him so much as a football player.”

Gore enters Sunday’s game against his former team just three yards behind Eric Dickerson for No. 7 on the NFL’s all-time rushing yardage list.

“I’ve been blessed,” Gore said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“When you look back at my career, coming from college, when I got drafted there how many people, even with me getting picked in third round, were calling it a reach? And now I’m still playing and having a little success at this age. I feel real blessed. I’m still working my behind off and still loving it.”

And how is this for durability? Gore, 34, has started 96 consecutive games – the longest active streak among NFL running backs. Next on the list is Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman, who has 25 consecutive starts.

“He’s still rolling,” McCloughan said.

After 10 seasons with the 49ers, Gore’s time came to an end after his 1,106-yard season in 2014. With Jim Harbaugh no longer with the organization, general manager Trent Baalke offered Gore a one-year contract in 2015 as the organization prepared for Carlos Hyde to take over as the featured running back.

Gore admits he was bitter for a year after signing a three-year deal with Indianapolis. But, now, with the passage of time, Gore said he understands the 49ers' rationale.

“They had a young guy,” Gore said. “Trent Baalke drafted him, and that’s who he wanted to play. They wanted to go in a new direction. What could I do?

“I just know when I left I left on good terms. I played great ball for the York family and my fans out there. I left everything on the field.”

Gore is now earning plenty of admirers in Indianapolis, just as he did for a decade with the 49ers.

“I think a bunch of people told him for a long, long time that he can’t and he won’t, and he’s been out to prove everybody wrong,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said.

“He’s one of our top dudes. Just a great, great player, a better person and a great teammate.”

Gore leads the Colts with 191 yards and two touchdowns on 61 carries through four games this season. Although he is averaging just 3.1 yards per rushing attempt, his average is still best among Indianapolis’ running backs.

From the first time McCloughan saw Gore as a true freshman at Miami, he knew there was something special. Although Gore was behind Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee on the depth chart, McCloughan observed Gore’s toughness, strong lower body and ability to keep his pads low.

McCloughan looked past a low Wonderlic score. He knew a learning disability meant that Gore would not test well. But he also knew no written test could properly convey that Gore was a football savant.

“His intelligence, his instincts for the game are lights out,” McCloughan said. “I’ve been around a lot of really good football players. With him, it’s amazing how he picks stuff up so quickly.

“I was like, ‘He’s smarter than Alex (Smith),’ and Alex had a big-time test score. And Alex, of course, is very intelligent, but he (Gore) knew the game, big-time. It was awesome.”

McCloughan had only briefly met Gore at the NFL Scouting Combine, but at that point Gore was off the 49ers’ draft board due to a non-passing medical grade.

The night before the 2005 draft, McCloughan said he was at then-coach Mike Nolan’s house. He received a call from an agent who told him Gore wished to speak with him.

“I can barely understand him, he’s talking so fast,” McCloughan said. “He’s nervous.”

Gore told McCloughan that he’s heard from other teams that he could be a first- or second-round draft pick.

“I said, ‘I’ll be honest with you, Frank,” McCloughan said. “I’m always honest with all the players and coaches. I said, ‘If you’re there – we had the first pick in the third round – I’m going to take you. I can’t take you prior to that because of the medical issues.’ He said, ‘I’m not going to last that long.’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know. If you do, I’ll take you.’

“Since that day, we’ve been best friends. He said, ‘I respect you and I trust you.’ You get Frank’s trust, -- a lot of players – you get their trust, you got them. You got them, and they’ll do everything for you, and I’ll do everything for them.”

All-time NFL leading rushers
1, Emmitt Smith 18,355 (1990-2004)
2, Walter Payton 16,726 (1975-1987)
3, Barry Sanders 15,269 (1989-1998)
4, Curtis Martin 14,101 (1995-2005)
5, LaDainian Tomlinson 13,684 (2001-2011)
6, Jerome Bettis 13,662 (1993-2005)
7, Eric Dickerson 13,259 (1983-1993)
8, Frank Gore 13,256 (2005-current)
9, Tony Dorsett 12,739 (1977-1988)
10, Jim Brown 12,312 (1957-1965)

Source: 49ers sign son of former NFL WR

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USATSI

Source: 49ers sign son of former NFL WR

The 49ers have signed wide receiver Max McCaffrey off the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad, a source confirmed Tuesday to NBC Sports Bay Area.

The NFL Network first reported the 49ers’ move.

The team could place wide receiver Victor Bolden on injured reserve to make roster space for McCaffrey. Bolden sustained an ankle injury in the 49ers’ 26-16 victory Sunday over the Houston Texans.

McCaffrey (6 foot 2, 200 pounds) is a second-year player from Duke. He is the son of former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey and the older brother of former Stanford star and Carolina Panthers rookie Christian McCaffrey.

Max McCaffrey appeared in five games this season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, catching one pass for 4 yards.

He originally signed with the Raiders as an undrafted rookie and spent time with Green Bay, New Orleans and Jacksonville before returning to the Packers’ practice squad in October.

Shanahan: Garoppolo's two starts do not impact contract situation

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USATSI

Shanahan: Garoppolo's two starts do not impact contract situation

Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown for more yards than any quarterback in 49ers history in his first two starts.

But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo’s play has not changed how he views the contract situation that must be addressed before the start of the new league year in March.

The 49ers acquired Garoppolo in a late-October trade with the New England Patriots. He is under contract only through the end of this season. The 49ers will retain Garoppolo with the franchise tag if the sides are unable to reach agreement on a multi-year deal.

“For me personally, it doesn't impact anything,” Shanahan said. “I thought it was so neat about the situation that I didn't feel that, because of that (franchise) option, that we had to see something here or there, and we had to do all this stuff.

“It's been able for us to just try to do things the right way, put him in when we thought he was ready to, not put any pressure on him where he has to do all this to show something. Obviously, we're very encouraged with how these two games have been.”

The 49ers must designate Garoppolo as their franchise player at any point from Feb. 20 to March 6. Last year, the one-year cost for a franchise player at quarterback was $21.268 million.

In leading the 49ers to back-to-back road victories, Garoppolo threw for 293 yards against the Chicago Bears and 334 yards against the Houston Texans. Garoppolo is scheduled to make his first home start on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at Levi's Stadium.

“We'll see what happens here in the offseason when we get together and can assess everything,” Shanahan said. “I definitely don't think that’s something he's thinking about at this point, and it's definitely not something I'm thinking about, either.”

Shanahan said he does not anticipate the sides working out a contract extension during the final three weeks of the regular season.