Around the NFC West: May 14, 2013
Good morning, NFC West, and 30th birthday wishes to a certain indomitable San Francisco 49ers running back.
Frank Gore was coming off two serious knee injuries at the University of Miami when the 49ers made him a third-round draft choice in 2005. He has played in all 37 of the 49ers' regular-season and playoff games over the past two seasons, putting up consecutive 1,200-yard regular seasons for the first time in his career.
The 49ers keep drafting running backs. Glen Coffee (2009), Kendall Hunter (2011), LaMichael James (2012) and Marcus Lattimore (2013) were all chosen in the first four rounds. Some have provided insurance or a change of pace. None has clearly established himself as the heir to the 49ers' career rushing leader.
Gore briefly provided an opening when a hip injury sidelined him for the final five games of the 2010 season. But when the 2012 season ended with the 49ers losing narrowly to Baltimore in the Super Bowl, the question was whether coaches had done enough to involve Gore in the late going, not whether another back could have done a better job.
Gore's 33-yard run had given the 49ers first-and-goal at the Baltimore 7-yard line with 2:39 remaining. He finished the game with 19 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown. We haven't seen the last of him, either.