Marcus Lattimore says 49ers players 'love' Jim Harbaugh

Marcus Lattimore's injured right knee never allowed him to take a single snap in the NFL before he retired last month. But that does not mean he was not a part of the San Francisco 49ers.

A fourth-round pick of the team in 2013, Lattimore was still referring to the Niners as "we" in a Tuesday interview on CBS Sports' "We need to Talk" show. Lattimore was asked about the current tempest surrounding 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

"It's more the outside people," stirring things up, Lattimore said. "Coach Harbaugh is a football player, he loves football. If he could be out there [playing] right now, he would. He's so competive it may come off as people don't like him.

"But the vibe we got in the locker room, the players love him. We love everything he [does], the way he structures our practice, we're always competing. One day he may give us the day off, and that doesn't happen a lot.

"I mean, l love coach Harbaugh and so do the other players. I mean, we're not having the greatest season, but you look at his track record -- we went to the Super Bowl, we went to [three straight] NFC championships. It's hard to get a win in the NFL, it really is. I think we'll be fine, to be honest."

Lattimore's ode to his former coach and his claims of the 49ers' players also singing hosannas to Harbaugh fly in the face of many national reports since before the season began of him losing the locker room.

The former running back also spoke of how hard it was to retire while trying to come back from the devastating knee injury he suffered in his last season at South Carolina in October 2012, saying he had made up his mind a week before the official announcement.

"It just didn't work out," he said. "It was painful. I became, just a body out there.

"It just didn't get better ... the pain just kept coming, the swelling."

Lattimore also intimated he could have taken pain killers to play.

"I didn't want to live like that," he said, adding that he will go back to school to finish his degree. "I had to make a grown-up decision."