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.

Rookie LB Fred Warner is setting the tone for 49ers, but he might be a little too loud

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AP

Rookie LB Fred Warner is setting the tone for 49ers, but he might be a little too loud

When the 49ers selected inside linebacker Fred Warner of BYU in the third round of the draft, it was easy to see how he fit into the team's plan with the degree of uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster.

While Foster remained away from the team’s offseason program for five weeks, Warner felt a need to get up to speed quickly if he was needed to be a starter for Week 1 of the regular season. Warner said he was determined to learn as quickly as possible at whatever position he lined up.

“They want consistency over a guy who can make a play here and there,” Warner said on The 49ers insider Podcast. “Because if you’re a liability and you’re out there missing assignments, stuff like that, that’s going to get you cut. You have to be able to retain this information very quickly and be able to produce on the field and put a good product out there. That’s the biggest thing.”

The 49ers consider the middle linebacker (mike) and weakside linebacker (will) positions as nearly interchangeable. The major difference is the mike position is the player who communicates in the huddle. Malcolm Smith is lining up with the first team at mike, while Foster is at will. Warner is leading the second team at mike.

Foster joined the 49ers’ offseason for the final four weeks after a judge dismissed two felony charges of domestic violence. Warner knew all about Foster, the player, before meeting him as a teammate.

“He’s a very physical player, and something I didn’t know about him that I know now, he’s probably the smartest guy in the room,” Warner said. “This dude has the memory of an elephant. He doesn’t have to write notes down. He just retains things very quickly. And I think that’s what allowed him to play at such a high level as a rookie last year, aside from his physical talent.”

Warner has also learned a lot from Smith, who played six NFL seasons before sitting out last year with a torn pectoral.

“We’ve worked after practice on man coverage on tight ends and running backs.,” Warner said. “Even though that might not be something we touch on in practice or a meeting, he just wants to touch on that with me because he said, ‘If you can do this, you can play on any team in the NFL.’ “

One of the few critiques of the rookie during the offseason program is that Warner, who said he was a quiet kid as a youngster, has been a little too loud.

“He’s very smart and he plays like it on the field,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said during the first week of OTAs. “He doesn’t hesitate. He’s a rookie out there, but he’s calling the plays maybe even too loud because I can hear him from the offensive side. But, he doesn’t mind speaking up. He’s confident in what he’s doing.”

Warner said he wanted to win the confidence of his teammates, so that might have contributed to his increased decibel level.

“I want to make sure that when I get in that huddle and I’m talking to these guys, that they know that I know what I’m doing and I’m ready to go,” Warner said. “I’m the one who’s going to set the tone in the huddle before the play even happens.”

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

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AP

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

Keith Fahnhorst, who played 14 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and started on two Super Bowl-winning teams, died on Tuesday. He was 66.

Fahnhorst was among a large group of players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl championship team that gathered at Levi’s Stadium in October in a celebration of Dwight Clark. Fahnhorst and Clark were teammates for the 49ers’ Super Bowl-titlle teams of 1981 and 1984. Clark passed away on June 6 from ALS.

Fahnhorst, who was in a wheelchair during his trip to the Bay Area last season, battled many physical ailments since his career ended in 1987. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and underwent a kidney transplant in 2002. Fahnhorst was also later diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

A second-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1974 from the University of Minnesota, Fahnhorst was a mainstay at right tackle as the organization struggled in the mid-to-late 1970s, then found success in the 1980s under coach Bill Walsh.

“Everybody knew they could count on Keith,” Walsh said in the 2005 book, “San Francisco 49ers: Where Have Gone?”

Fahnhorst appeared in 193 regular-season games, ranking behind only Len Rohde among offensive linemen in 49ers history. He started 170 games, including all 10 postseason games in which he appeared. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team and was selected as a first-team All-Pro after the 1984 season. He was a two-time winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award for best representing the courage, intensity and sacrifice displayed by the longtime 49ers offensive line coach.

Keith Fahnhorst and his younger brother, Jim, were 49ers teammates for the final four years of Keith’s career. Jim Fahnhorst, a linebacker, played for the 49ers from 1984 to 1990. Neither Keith nor Jim Fahnhorst played for any NFL team other than the 49ers.