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Jim Harbaugh: Frank Gore's 'Got 3 More Good Years'

Posted Mar 26, 2014

The 49ers coach will have a new-look backfield next season, but he said a familiar face there has plenty left on the playing field.


Frank Gore will be completing his first decade in the NFL when the 2014 season commences.

So the question is: How many years does the San Francisco 49ers all-time leading rusher have left?

"I really think Frank’s got three more good years," Jim Harbaugh told reporters at the owners' meetings in Orlando on Wednesday. "I really think that.

I truly believe that. But we’re in a game of taking it one year at a time."

Harbaugh said it "wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision" to increase Gore's touches in 2013; the Miami product, who will be 31 next Opening Day, carried the ball 276 times last season, his third-highest total in nine years wearing the red and gold.

Gore, who is under contract through 2014, rushed for 1,128 yards last season, his third straight and seventh overall 1,000-plus-yards campaign.

One candidate to take the burden off of Gore going forward could be Marcus Lattimore. The team's fourth-round draft pick effectively "redshirted" his rookie season to completely recover from major knee surgery suffered as a collegian at South Carolina.

"There’s one name right there, Marcus Lattimore," Harbaugh said. "You can say (defensive tackle) Tank Carradine another, and since we’re in the same draft class, (nose tackle) Quinton Dial. All three of those young men, if they could really come to the fore, that would be huge for our team."

Count Gore, Lattimore and dependable reserve Kendall Hunter as well as return specialist LaMichael James in the mix at running back. The position group also has a prospect in Jewel Hampton, who spent 2013 on the practice squad, but lost Anthony Dixon via free agency this month.

Harbaugh was also asked whether or not the team pursued Minnesota Vikings-turned-Jacksonville Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart, whom he coached at Stanford.

"We did have conversations, yes," the coach said. "Again, we never talk about guys that really aren’t on our team that we didn’t get. Rather just leave it with that, standard policy."
 

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