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Gore Fueled by Age Criticism

Frank Gore hears the comments of TV analysts speculating about his future. He has a good idea of what has been said and written as he enters his ninth season with the San Francisco 49ers.

Gore, 30, is well aware of critics downplaying his future production.

The 49ers all-time rushing king, however, is fueled by those negative words.

"I like it," the 5-foot-9, 217-pound running back said at the end of veteran minicamp. "I like that type of stuff."

Gore has kept tabs of his doubters throughout his NFL career. He never forgets those who question his ability to be a productive play-maker.

"I feel like every year is something with me," said Gore, who noted he had to prove himself as a third-round draft pick entering the league in 2005 and once again after a fractured hip ended his 2010 season. "I've got to overcome everything, every year… I'm going to go hard and prove everybody again."

Gore rushed for 1,214 yards and made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in 2012. He continued his hard-running ways in the postseason to the tune of 319 rushing yards and four touchdowns for the NFC champions. Gore improved his yards per carry from 4.7 in the regular season to 5.1 yards per rush in the postseason. But even with the production, the NFL's talking heads want to know what Gore can do in his ninth season. Gore didn't carry the ball very often this offseason.

The aches and pains of a 19-game season lingered with the running back known for his aggressive running style in between the tackles. Gore didn't participate in San Francisco's mandatory minicamp, but did work sparingly during Organized Team Activities.

Gore said there's nothing to worry about his absence at minicamp. According to Gore, it was the call of the team's medical staff.

"I feel good," the 49ers all-time leader in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns said. "I've been here all offseason getting better with the team and getting ready for training camp."

Gore admitted that the loss in Super Bowl XLVII lingered into the offseason, but started to fade away once he returned to the team's Santa Clara headquarters to participate in the offseason strength program.

"It was tough," Gore began, "but once I got back and working out, I got better with it.

"I'm happy to be back. I'm seeing all the guys working and we'll try to get back to where we left off last year."

Most notably, Gore has been pleased to see the leadership of third-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"He did a lot when he got his opportunity and he took advantage of it," Gore said of San Francisco's starter. "He had a great run and we're looking to see him do even more this year."

Gore praised Kaepernick's unique running style and how it opened up inside running lanes in the late stages of season. Opponents had to respect the running threat Kaepernick presented in San Francisco's "Pistol" formations. Gore thrived in the new running system, showcasing his adaptability and usefulness in the process.

"With a new offense I think Kap freed me up a lot," Gore said. "I'll be fine this year."

Come September, the 49ers running back will look to prove his age won't factor into continuing his role as one of San Francisco's feared offensive weapons.


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