Frank Gore

Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season

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Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season

Frank Gore is returning home to, in all likelihood, finish his professional football career.

Gore, 34, signed a one-year contract to enter his 14th NFL season with his hometown Miami Dolphins, the team announced Friday.

Gore grew up in Coconut Grove, Florida, and attended Coral Gables High School before playing collegiately at the University of Miami.

He played the first 10 NFL seasons with the 49ers and is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. Gore ranks fifth in NFL history with 14,026 rushing yards – just 75 yards behind No. 4 Curtis Martin.

After rushing for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns with the 49ers, the club declined to offer him a multi-year contract following the 2014 season. Gore played the past three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

Gore remains one of the most popular players in 49ers history. When asked recently if he would be willing to “retire” as a member of the 49ers after his final game, Gore reacted enthusiastically about the possibility.

NFL ALL-TIME RUSHING LEADERS
1, Emmitt Smith 18,355
2, Walter Payton 16,726
3, Barry Sanders 15,269
4, Curtis Martin 14,101
5, Frank Gore 14,026

How Richard Sherman fits into 49ers' offseason plans

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How Richard Sherman fits into 49ers' offseason plans

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan met newly available veteran cornerback Richard Sherman and his wife for dinner Friday night in Los Gatos.

“Just doing our due diligence,” Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Nothing to report, yet.”

Sherman, who is representing himself in talks with teams, can sign with any team at any time because the Seattle Seahawks released him on Friday. He is expected to undergo a physical on Saturday. Sherman sustained a season-ending right Achilles injury in November, and he recently had a "clean-up" procedure on his left Achilles.

Of course, the possibility of the 49ers adding Sherman to the mix before the start of free agency could impact the team’s strategy at its biggest position of need. The 49ers do not have a second starting cornerback. Sherman would fill that void.

Here are some pressing questions of 49ers fans (via Facebook) as the start of free agency nears:

If the 49ers sign Richard Sherman would they still be in play for Trumaine Johnson from the Rams?‬ (Jonathan Pitts‪)
I doubt the 49ers will be big players for Trumaine Johnson, regardless. It’s hard to believe that is a prudent move. The 49ers have made it clear they will target players who fit their model for sustained success. Johnson will command big money, and he has not been a take-half-the-field-away type of player that his price tag suggests he should be.

I would imagine signing Sherman would not preclude Lynch/Shanahan from signing another corner or two in free agency, right?‬ (‪Benson Collins)
The 49ers were extremely excited about the development of Ahkello Witherspoon as a rookie. But other than Witherspoon, the 49ers do not have a starter-caliber cornerback on their roster.

Two scheduled free agents who I believe are system fits – and, possibly salary fits – are Aaron Colvin (Jacksonville) and Rashaan Melvin (Indianapolis). Regardless of what happens with Sherman, I expect the 49ers to at least investigate the possibility of getting a deal done with either of those two players.

Are we done filling in the WR position for 2018? (Max Moorman)
No, but I do not expect the 49ers to break the bank on a high-priced wide receiver, such as Allen Robinson or Sammy Watkins. But we shall see.

The 49ers have reason to feel good about their top three: Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor in the slot.

Veteran Aldrick Robinson fits a role, and Kendrick Bourne has a chance to take a big step in his second season. Goodwin had his breakout season to earn a three-year contract extension through the 2021 season. I think the 49ers would like to work another receiver into the rotation so that Goodwin does not have to play as much as he did last season.

The 49ers’ best option might be to use a draft pick within the first three rounds on a player to develop – without the urgency to rush him into the action and become a major contributor as a rookie.

What about Alfred Morris, a cheap stopgap RB who knows Kyle's system and still draft a RB? Morris, Breida, Williams, rookie? (John Mayfield) 
The 49ers really appreciated Carlos Hyde’s approach last season. That said, I think they believe he is not the perfect fit for Shanahan’s scheme. Ideally, they would like a running back who can make more plays on his own.

Morris and Isaiah Crowell would both be very good options as free agents to pair with Matt Breida. It’s all about the cost, though. The door is open to re-sign Hyde. The markets of Hyde, Morris and Crowell will determine what happens in free agency.

The 49ers can be expected to sign a free agent. It could be a buyer’s market for veteran running backs because there are so many great options available in a very deep draft.

Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner fell in love with Joe Williams before last year’s draft. He has the skills the 49ers want from that position. However, Williams did not impress during the offseason program and training camp. He still has a chance, but now the onus is on him to prove himself or he will not make it to the regular-sesson roster.

Any news on Frank Gore's potential landing spots? (Isael Martin Ojeda Serrano)
I spoke at length with Frank Gore last weekend in Indianapolis. He wanted to talk a lot about the 49ers. You better believe he is watching what the 49ers are doing, and he definitely approves of the direction the team is heading under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.

I got the sense that Gore felt he would end up with a team. He told me his is not going to sign with just any team for 2018. He does not want to "pad his stats." He wants to play somewhere that makes sense for both parties.

But I do not believe the 49ers will be that team. He is not a great fit for what Shanahan wants from his offense at this stage.

But when I brought up the subject of Gore returning to the 49ers on a ceremonial contract after he has played his final NFL game, Gore could not have been any more enthusiastic. That will almost certainly happen.

49ers Mailbag: What's next for Reuben Foster after arrest?

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49ers Mailbag: What's next for Reuben Foster after arrest?

What is going to happen to Reuben Foster? (John Riley)
It’s much too early to tell, but . . .

As an isolated incident, probably nothing of consequence would happen to Foster as a result of his arrest Friday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on a charge of second degree possession of marijuana.

However, there is a cumulative effect as it relates to the NFL’s Policy on Substances of Abuse.

He was presumably already in the NFL’s confidential program, based on his admission that he provided a diluted urine sample at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last year. The NFL views a diluted sample as a positive test.

Foster said he was sick before the combine – possibly from food poisoning. He had a difficult time keeping food down, he said, so in order to keep up his weight he drank a lot of water and Gatorade.

According to the NFL’s policy, the first discipline for Stage Two, if for marijuana, is a fine equivalent of two game checks. A second violation would require a minimum suspension of four regular and/or postseason games.

Frank Gore. Retiring a Niner. They owe him. How do they make it work? (Lars Grelck)
You will not find anyone with the 49ers who has anything but glowing things to say about Frank Gore. However, it’s highly unlikely the 49ers would have interest in him as a player.

Coach Kyle Shanahan is looking for running backs who have more home-run-hitting potential. Gore is as steady as they come. But he turns 35 in May and he is not a good fit for what the 49ers are trying to build on offense.

But it seems obvious Gore is a strong candidate to retire with the 49ers – a sporting tradition that started with Roger Craig and the 49ers more than 20 years ago. A lot of the 49ers coaches and executives who were around when Gore played for the team are now gone.

But Gore has maintained a strong relationship with CEO Jed York. After the Indianapolis Colts played the 49ers last season, Gore sought out York and the men spoke outside the 49ers locker room.

Expect Gore to sign a ceremonial contract with the 49ers after he has played his final NFL game.

Do you think they will franchise tag Jimmy G or sign him to a long-term deal. If it’s a long-term deal, do you think they will make him the highest paid QB in the NFL? (Morgon Holden)
If the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo do not reach a multi-year contract by March 6, the team will tag him as their franchise player. I believe there is confidence on both sides that a deal will be reached. With only seven starts in four seasons, I would not expect him to become the highest-paid quarterback in the league. But he will never had to worry about money for the remainder of his life.

The Niners have a lot of decisions to make at safety, who will they keep? (Johnny O'Dea)
The 49ers have intimated that they have no problem bringing back Jimmie Ward on his $8.5 million deal on the fifth-year option. We know Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert will definitely be back, with Tartt being a strong candidate for a contract extension this offseason. I think Eric Reid will hit the open market. If Reid does not attract a lot of attention in free agency, the 49ers would entertain the thought of bringing him back on a one-year deal. Competition in the offseason program will determine who starts in what spots, but they all can be expected to play significant roles.

What players put on IR early in the year could have big impact next season? (Stépheñ Bůrkę)
--Linebacker Malcolm Smith, who sustained a torn pectoral during training camp, is the big one. He is expected to start at weakside linebacker with Foster moving to middle linebacker. The 49ers’ coaching staff was devastated when it was discovered Smith was lost for the season before the season even began.

--Running back Joe Williams (ankle) has a chance in his second year. He is exactly what the 49ers’ coaching staff wants from a skill standpoint. He needs to put in the work in the offseason and hold onto the ball in order to take advantage of his "redshirt year."

--Guard Joshua Garnett did not impress the coaching staff in the offseason and training camp before he went on injured reserve with a knee injury to open the season. The 49ers asked him to put in the time and effort to reshape his body. He looks a lot better. Now, the question is whether he can fit Shanahan’s system. The 49ers are hopeful that Garnett will make a huge leap, but they are not counting on it.

--Defensive lineman Arik Armstead (broken hand) enters his fourth season. The 49ers must make the call on whether to pick up the fifth-year option (for the 2019 season). There is little financial risk for such a decision, but it remains uncertain if Armstead is a fit for Saleh’s scheme.