Frank Gore was just 21 years old when he first visited Candlestick Park to join the San Francisco 49ers.
Selected as the 65th-overall pick in the third round of the 2005 draft, the odds of becoming a long-established running back in the NFL were stacked against him. As a tailback at the University of Miami, Gore suffered two ACL injuries that kept him off the field his sophomore and junior seasons.
Despite the young running back's history of injury, Gore played in 14 games as a rookie on the team, leading the 49ers with 608 rushing yards on 127 carries and three touchdowns. The next year, he was selected to the 2006 NFL Pro Bowl.
As Gore's yardage and touchdown count quickly grew, so did his fanbase. The Faithful passionately cheered on the running back through his NFL journey and to four more Pro Bowls during his time with the 49ers.
"One of the very first things I told the 49ers organization when they drafted me in 2005 was that they got the right guy," Gore said. "I knew early on that I wouldn't let my college career define me in regards to injuries, and that I would have to outwork a lot of people to get to where I wanted to be."
Six seasons after he was drafted by San Francisco, Gore marked his name in the 49ers record books. In the team's 26-0 Week 13 win against the St. Louis Rams, Gore passed Joe Perry to become the franchise's all-time leading rusher. From 1950-1963, Perry recorded 7,344 rushing yards for the 49ers – by the 2011 season, Gore racked up 7,625 yards. In addition to breaking Perry's record, the 49ers secured a playoff spot, the first in Gore's career.
Sealing his name as a 49ers legend and one of the greatest running backs in the NFL, Gore ran for over 1,200 yards for the third time in his career and set the all-time franchise rushing touchdown record (51) in his eighth season with the team. He helped lead San Francisco to the playoffs once again, eventually earning a trip to Super Bowl XLVII – the team's first Super Bowl appearance since the 1994 season.
Gore entered his final season with the 49ers in 2014, needing just 33 yards to reach a record-making 10,000-yard statistic. In the team's season opening game, Gore recorded 66 yards and became the 29th player in NFL history to reach the milestone. Later in the season, he became the 20th player in NFL history to rush for 11,000 career yards. Gore played all 16 games in 2014, averaging 4.3 yards per carry for 1,106 total yards and four touchdowns.
After spending a few years away from San Francisco with the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, Gore continued to call the Bay Area his home and the Faithful the best fans in the league.
"After 10 years in San Francisco and 16 years in the NFL, I can confidently say that I put all I had into the game of football," Gore said. "Football was and is everything to me. From meetings and film study to practice and just being in the locker room, all of it meant the world to me. I am happy to officially close this chapter of my life and proud of what I was able to accomplish and the legacy I leave behind."
His legacy will now forever be upheld by the 49ers organization upon his retirement with San Francisco as he joins the team's Hall of Fame.
"We are thrilled to induct Frank Gore into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame, his rightful place among our all-time greats," 49ers CEO Jed York said. "Frank had to overcome many challenges upon entering the NFL and now leaves the game not only as one of the best backs in NFL history, but one of the best football players ever."
"Being inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame, one of the most historic franchises in all of sports, is something that is hard to put into words," Gore said. "This organization will always be a part of me, one that I will forever associate myself with. I will talk about San Francisco as 'we' and 'us' for the rest of my life, and will support the 49ers and The Faithful in every way possible."
Look back on Frank Gore's 10-year career in San Francisco as the the franchise's all-time leading rusher retires a Niner.