49ers

Gore believes 49ers going in the right direction: 'That's what I bleed'

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USATI

Gore believes 49ers going in the right direction: 'That's what I bleed'

The 49ers’ all-time leading rusher is now in his third season with the Indianapolis Colts.

But running back Frank Gore has never left the 49ers completely behind. On Sunday nights last season, Gore would often call then-running backs coach Tom Rathman to rant about his former team while the 49ers were in the midst of a two-win season.

On Wednesday, Gore demonstrated his continued passion for the 49ers during a conference call with Bay Area reporters. After answering questions for more than 10 minutes, Gore had his own question:

What do y’all think about the 49ers?

Then, Gore proceeded to give his opinion of where the 49ers are heading after the firings of one-and-done head coaches Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, as well as the removal of general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers, under coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, are 0-4 as they enter Week 5 with a game against Gore and the Colts on Sunday. Gore said he sees reason for optimism.

“I think they’re going in the right direction,” Gore said. “They really play tough, man. I like their coaching staff. I like what he’s doing on offense. And that defense, they play very hard, and they’re playing good ball.

“The safety. . . (No.) 29 (Jaquiski Tartt), I see, he’s around the ball a lot. E-Reid (Eric Reid) was playing good ball before he got hurt. He was looking like his first year when he played with us.

“I like their D-line. I think they’re going to be all right. I think (49ers CEO) Jed (York) did a great job of picking the guys he picked to run the team. I think they’re going to be OK.

“In the NFC West, you know how it is. It goes in cycles. I don’t think Seattle is how they used to be. . . Arizona . . . The Rams got a lot better. And San Fran, and that young team, I think they got a bunch of good pieces. I think (quarterback Brian) Hoyer is playing good ball, at times. But I think once they get all that situation, I think, man, they’re going to be back where we were, making a run for the NFC West.”

When told that Gore sounded like a fan, he did not disagree. He said he wishes success for his former team.

“I’d been there 10 years,” Gore said. “That’s what I bleed. I was bitter that first year, but that’s the business. That’s the business. I did right for that organization. I played hard. What can they say but great things about me? I want to see them do great.”

Gore said the 49ers’ narrow loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII still motivates him. Gore rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries in the Super Bowl. After his 33-yard run gave the 49ers a first-and-goal from the Baltimore 7, Gore never touched the ball again.

“It was real close. I think we were 4 or 5 yards away,” Gore said. “Because of what we had going on as one of the top teams in the league, you feel you’d go back. It never happened.”

Left tackle Joe Staley and linebacker NaVorro Bowman are the only starters off that Super Bowl team that remain with the 49ers. Center Daniel Kilgore and tight end Garrett Celek were backups.

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

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USATSI

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

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Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”