Frank Gore has spent 10 seasons in a 49ers uniform, but it’s possible that this could be his last.
After 146 games, nearly 2,400 carries, almost 11,000 yards and 63 rushing touchdowns, No. 21 could be playing for someone else in 2015.
Gore, in the last year of his contract, remains a solid running back at age 31, still capable of being an impact player. This season he’s rushed for 804 yards in 14 games and has two 100-yard-plus performances this season.
Yet Gore suffered a concussion in this past Sunday’s loss at Seattle and hasn’t yet been cleared for this Saturday’s game against the Chargers. Head coach Jim Harbaugh told the media Monday that Gore was “feeling good, as good as can be expected,” and he was hopeful that his running back will be able to play Saturday.
Yet whether Gore can play this Saturday or in the season finale Dec. 28 vs. the Arizona Cardinals, it’s seeming more and more unlikely that Gore will return for 2015 in San Francisco.
The Niners are poised for the start of a new era under a new head coach, and players such as Gore, defensive end Justin Smith, guard Mike Iupati and wide receiver Michael Crabtree – players at or near the end of their contracts – could be gone.
The 49ers have a young running back in Carlos Hyde who’s shown he can be very effective. Come this weekend or next, 49ers fans may want to take the time to appreciate seeing Gore wear these team colors for the last time at Levi's Stadium.
Right guard Alex Boone this week said that even though the team’s playoff hopes were killed by the loss to Seattle this past weekend, there is much to play for over the final two games.
“Make a statement,” he told reporters. “Come out and just forget everything, just play football. You’re playing with some of the greatest guys ever. Frank Gore, Justin Smith. These are guys that probably aren’t going to be here next year. You fight for them. You’re proud to go out there with them and fight as hard as they do.”
For Gore, this has been a frustrating season. After three straight seasons of more than 1,100 yards rushing, the yards – and the victories – have been much harder to come by. Gore remains in excellent shape and is still a team leader, a fine blocker and tough, inside runner.
If this is his last two weeks in a 49ers uniform, he’ll continue to give it his best.
Said Gore recently: “I’ll keep fighting with my teammates. I’m going to give my teammates 110 percent.”