There was a sliver of hope among the Faithful that when Frank Gore got cold feet over his purported agreement to join the Philadelphia Eagles, he would shake his head, wipe the sleep from his eyes and return to Santa Clara.
Instead, the San Francisco 49ers' all-time leading rusher chose the Indianapolis Colts, where he will team with quarterback Andrew Luck and newly-signed receiver Andre Johnson. And Gore's reasoning for going to Indy? Avert ye eyes, Faithful.
"My first option, I always wanted to be here," Gore told Colts.com on Wednesday, after signing a three-year, $12 million contract, with $7.5 million guaranteed.
"I always wanted to be here. I just had to follow my heart. And I feel like everytime I follow my heart, I'm doing the right thing."
Gore also believed that the Colts, rather than the Niners or Eagles, afforded him the best chance at winning the Super Bowl, which, ironically, will be played at the Niners' year-old home in Levi's Stadium next February.
"It was very tough," Gore said of his decision. "You know, I've been in San Fran for 10 years, they're a great organization. But I know at this point in my career, I wanted to be with a team who got a shot to get the trophy. When you play this game, when you're done, you want to be able to hold the trophy. And I think, you know, me coming here, on the field, off the field, I can help this team out a lot.
"Me coming here and still loving this game, I'm going to try to give my teammates all I have, man."
Gore, a five-time Pro Bowler who turns 32 on May 14, was offered a one-year deal worth $4 million by the Niners, according to CSNBayArea.com. Carlos Hyde figures to be the starter at running back with Kendall Hunter returning from an ACL injury and the Niners reportedly set to host free-agentReggie Bush this week.
With 11,073 career rushing yards, he is one of just 10 players in NFL history to rush for at least 10,000 yards in 10 years with one team and has eight 1,000-yard rushing seasons since the 49ers drafted him in the third round in 2005 out of Miami.
The 49ers were 5 yards away from claiming the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy two years ago, trailing by 34-29 and facing second-and-goal, but rather than hand the ball to Gore, three straight passes from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree fell incomplete.
"If I want to take the right step and try to get a championship," Gore said, "I feel like this is the right place."