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If time ever comes, Gore says he will retire with 49ers

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This is only a temporary thing, this notion of Frank Gore on a team competing against the 49ers.

There will be a time when Gore rejoins the 49ers ... forever.

Gore confirmed in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area that he and 49ers CEO Jed York have spoken and agreed that when Gore is finished playing football -- whenever that might be -- he will sign a ceremonial contract to retire as a member of the organization.

“We talked about that,” Gore said. “I got to. That’s the team that gave me the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do when I was a kid, play NFL ball.

“I was there for 10 great years. Been on bad teams and been on great teams. I love it out there.”

Gore, 37, is a 16-year NFL veteran. He will be in the New York Jets’ starting backfield Sunday against the 49ers for their Week 2 game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Gore is the 49ers’ all-time leading rusher with 11,073 yards. He is No. 3 on the NFL’s all-time rushing list behind only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton.

Gore, who grew up in the Miami area as a fan of the 49ers, entered the NFL as the ultimate underdog. He undoubtedly was not even on some NFL draft boards as a prospect in 2005.

But then-general manager Scot McCloughan fell for him. McCloughan even made exceptions for Gore to allow for passing medical grades to enable the 49ers to select him in the draft. The 49ers chose Gore with the first pick of the third round.

 

Gore said the kind of faith the organization placed in him will never be forgotten.

“You got to understand, coming out of college: two ACLs, two shoulders,” Gore said of the injuries he sustained while at the University of Miami. “Everybody wrote me off and wouldn’t draft me. They took the chance.”

Gore was a constant during his time with the 49ers. Through bad times and good, Gore was the focal point of the offense as a runner, receiver and blocker, too.

“When I got there, it was probably the laughingstock of the NFL, and seeing all of us grow up together, me, Vernon (Davis) and Alex (Smith),” Gore said.

Then, the 49ers added such players as Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, Justin Smith and Donte Whitner on defense with Vic Fangio as the coordinator under coach Jim Harbaugh.

“And it just clicked,” Gore said. “We had on that run.”

On the same day that Harbaugh coached his final game with the 49ers, Gore put on a 49ers uniform for the final time. Then-general manager Trent Baalke decided not to extend a competitive contract offer to keep Gore with the organization. Gore signed a three-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts in March 2015.

Shortly thereafter, Gore said he received a text from 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York, who wished him well and told him she would be watching him from afar.

“The owners are great people,” Gore said. “Even today, they call and check on me.”

Gore and Jed York spoke for a long time in the hallway outside the 49ers' locker room in Indianapolis after the teams played in October 2017. In his only previous game against the 49ers, Gore rushed for 48 yards and caught three passes for 38 yards in the Colts' 26-23 victory.

RELATED: Frank Gore shares his biggest regret from his time with 49ers

Gore’s football journey later took him to Miami to play for his hometown Dolphins, as well as the Buffalo Bills. Before signing with the Jets this offseason, Gore was a guest of the 49ers at Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

He was in the team’s locker room after the game to console and give guidance to several 49ers players following the crushing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Gore even attended the team’s post-game party.

Gore remains one of the most-popular 49ers players of the past two decades. And he said the love is mutual.

“The fans were great,” Gore said. “When we were bad, they were there. When we got good, it got crazier. It was great out there. I miss it out there, for real.”