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Ex-49er Frank Gore says he never pondered retiring before joining Jets

Ex-49er Frank Gore says he never pondered retiring before joining Jets

Frank Gore had a full career in a decade with the 49ers, and he arguably has had one in the five seasons since.

Gore's 11,073 rushing yards with San Francisco are nearly 4,000 clear of the next closest running back (Joe Perry) in franchise history. Add that with Gore's 4,274 yards since leaving the 49ers in 2014, and only Walter Payton and Emmit Smith are ahead of Gore on the NFL's all-time rushing list.

Still, there aren't many 37-year-old running backs playing these days. His age makes Gore, who signed with the New York Jets this offseason, a modern anomaly. That doesn't mean he contemplated retirement after spending his 15th NFL season with the Buffalo Bills in 2019.

"I didn't," Gore said on a Zoom call with reporters covering the Jets on Thursday. "I didn't because when I was playing, like the first six or seven games, I was ballin'. I was ballin'. Once Buffalo went and started playing younger guys, I felt like I still could do it. I just had to see what team would give me the opportunity."

Gore rushed 86 times for 388 yards (4.51 per carry) during the first six games of 2019, getting at least 10 carries in each game. He rushed the ball 80 times in his next nine games, averaging just 2.64 yards per attempt and toting the rock 10-plus times in just four games down the stretch.

Before ultimately deciding to reunite with coach Adam Gase, who convinced Gore to join his hometown Miami Dolphins in 2018, the running back consulted someone close to him about returning: His son, Frank Jr., incoming freshman running back at Southern Mississippi.

"I asked my son what he think I should do, my older son, and he's gonna be in college this year," Gore recalled. "He was like, 'Dad, I think you can go one more.' So I said, 'Alright, I'm gonna go.' "

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If this is indeed Gore's last season, he'll get (at least) one more chance to play against the 49ers. The Niners are scheduled to visit the Jets in Week 2 at MetLife Stadium.

That's a big if, though.

"I don't think about that," Gore said when asked how much more he has left in the tank. "I've taken it one day at a time, one year at a time."

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NFL prime-time schedule 2020: 49ers play five Thursday, Sunday, Monday games

NFL prime-time schedule 2020: 49ers play five Thursday, Sunday, Monday games

After originally being scheduled for three such games in 2019, the 49ers will be featured in prime time even more often during the 2020 NFL season.

San Francisco's 2020 regular-season schedule was released Thursday, and within it, the reigning NFC champions are scheduled to play five prime-time games, four of which will be played at Levi's Stadium. They are:

Week 4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles -- "Sunday Night Football"
Week 6 vs. Los Angeles Rams -- "Sunday Night Football"
Week 9 vs. Green Bay Packers -- "Thursday Night Football"
Week 13 vs. Buffalo Bills -- "Monday Night Football"
Week 15 at Dallas Cowboys -- "Sunday Night Football"

[RELATED: Predicting 49ers' wins and losses for every game in 2020]

The 49ers are one of eight NFL teams to be scheduled for five prime-time games in 2020, which is tied for the most in the league. Clearly, the NFL wants to showcase one of its premier teams as often as possible.

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Why Percy Harvin is unlikely to join 49ers in his NFL comeback attempt

Why Percy Harvin is unlikely to join 49ers in his NFL comeback attempt

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers believe they've boosted their offense by adding a player coming out of retirement. Might the 49ers do the same in response?

One day after the Bucs acquired tight end Rob Gronkowski in a trade with the Patriots, ESPN's Josina Anderson reported that wide receiver Percy Harvin is attempting an NFL comeback. Harvin, who turns 32 next month, has appeared in 75 career games with four different teams, but last played in 2016 when he was limited to two games with the Buffalo Bills.

"I thought I was done, but that itch came back," Harvin told Anderson.

Harvin retired for a second time back in 2017 and told Anderson that he couldn't get up and down the stairs last summer without using a handrail. However, he recently underwent hip surgery, during which doctors found a blockage that might have been there since high school.

In an attempt to make it back to the NFL, Harvin has been training with a former Olympian and says he currently weighs 185 pounds. Judging by some of his workout videos, he appears to be in great shape.

Selected with the No. 22 overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings out of the University of Florida, Harvin was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, his most memorable moment came in Super Bowl XLVIII when he returned an 87-yard kickoff for a touchdown while helping the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos. Now, he just wants an opportunity to join "any offense that'll just let [him] go."

So, the question is, would that offense be the 49ers'?

In short: probably not.

While Harvin's agent expects him to get one or more training-camp invites, it's unlikely one of those comes from San Francisco. For one, there's a decent chance the 49ers could add one of the top receiving prospects in this week's 2020 NFL Draft. Secondly, general manager John Lynch has suggested he is comfortable with the receiving corps they already have, and Harvin would be duplicative of certain players already on the roster.

[RELATED: Lynch preparing like 49ers, NFL season starting on schedule]

Of course, it's certainly possible that San Francisco opts to address other positions in the draft, and some of the incumbent receivers are either shipped out or passed over. If that's the way it works out, then sure, the 49ers might consider adding Harvin. There would be barely any risk, and the potential reward would outweigh it.

That said, if the 49ers are counting on Harvin, that means something likely went very wrong.

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