"Never let a rookie come in and take your spot."
That was the sage advice Frank Gore gave to Pierre Garçon in 2014. Of course, Hyde was a rookie when Gore uttered those words of wisdom. The San Francisco 49ers selected Hyde in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. But the talented Ohio State product had no chance of unseating Gore as the 49ers starting running back.
Even in Year 10, Gore showed that he had plenty left in the tank. The 49ers all-time leading rusher posted 1,106 yards on the ground that season. He's still yet to slow down, having put together his ninth 1,000-yard campaign just last year with the Indianapolis Colts.
Hyde ran for 333 yards during his rookie season in 2014 as Gore's understudy. He's since become the 49ers franchise running back, carrying the torch that was passed to him by Gore. Even during this preseason with the arrival of rookies Matt Breida and Joe Williams, Hyde's role never wavered.
"That (advice) always stuck with me," Hyde said on Wednesday with a laugh. "I ain't let no rookie take my spot. I appreciate that advice, Frank."
Gore confirmed that the respect is mutual during a conference call on Wednesday with Bay Area reporters.
"He's one of the top young backs in the league," Gore said over the phone. "I always knew he had talent. This year he's doing great. I watched his Seattle tape. He's playing really hard. He's one of the bright spots on that offense. He's putting a lot on his shoulders. He's a great young back. … I'm happy for him."
Hyde recalled a moment late in the 2014 season when Gore got banged up against the Seattle Seahawks. He thought there was no way the veteran runner would be able to go the following week against the Oakland Raiders. But Hyde, as so many others during Gore's career, was proven wrong.
"He went out and got 1,000 yards, and he was banged up," Hyde said. "I didn't think he was going to play.
"He's definitely a beast. He's been doing this a long time and playing at a high level for a long time. I'm trying to have a career like him."
Hyde has assumed that mentality now into his fourth NFL season. Just last week, Hyde was nursing a hip injury and entered the game listed as questionable. Kyle Shanahan noted that his running back was in considerable pain and would be a game-time decision.
Sure enough, Hyde played against the Arizona Cardinals. He touched the ball 21 times and racked up 95 total yards.
"If you can go out and be productive while you're banged up, then go out and try to help your team win," Hyde rationalized. "If you can't go, then go sit down. I felt like I could still go, and so I did my best to help the team win."
The best news is that Hyde felt no ill effects on the hip following the game. In fact, the running back explained that he's been steadily improving.
"I actually feel a lot better today," Hyde said. "The game didn't cause any more damage to it."
San Francisco's Week 5 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts will allow Hyde and Gore to square off for the first time as opponents. Hyde is ready, and you can only assume Gore is champing at the bit to face his former team as well.
"It'll be good to see my dog," Hyde said. "I haven't seen Frankie G. in a long time. I'm excited to play him."