Legendary 49ers running back Frank Gore is without a team for the first time since he was selected by San Francisco in Round 3 of the 2005 NFL draft. Injury issues have obliterated the 49ers’ backfield depth in the first two weeks and led the club to make a number of acquisitions at the position. While some fans were hopeful to see a reunion with the team’s all-time leading rusher, the team made a slew of other additions instead.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked about the possibility of Gore making his way back to the Bay Area. While Shanahan didn’t rule it out, it didn’t sound like they were particularly close to making that acquisition.
“I think I would never put anything past Frank. I know if you probably give him a little heads up and some notice he’ll always be ready to work and help a team,” Shanahan said. “I thought it was a little early for that. Our guys still have a chance of playing this week. So, we looked at it as an opportunity with not having 53 on our roster to try to steal someone off someone else’s practice squad, which we did. And then try to add a practice squad guy, which we did with Chris (Thompson). So, we’ve never fully ruled that out. I don’t know exactly where he is right now, but I’ve got a number of people in here who have a relationship with him. If that time ever comes that we need to do that and he wants to do it then I would never rule it out.”
Instead of working out Gore, the 49ers worked out Duke Johnson, TJ Yeldon and Lamar Miller. They added Kerryon Johnson and Thompson to their practice squad, and then added Jacques Patrick off the Bengals practice squad since he participated in preseason and has played football recently.
While it would undoubtedly be cool for fans to see Gore suit up in red and gold again, chances are he’s way down the list of players Shanahan would reach out to at this point.
Gore is 38-years old and averaged a career-low 3.5 yards per carry for the Jets last season. Since leaving the 49ers in 2015 he’s averaging just 3.8 yards per carry after posting 4.5 during his tenure with San Francisco. He could help the team in specific ways, but getting outside on outside zone runs is probably not one of them at this point of his career. That limits the area for him on the active roster. Not to mention he hasn’t played football since last season, which means he’d at best be given a practice squad spot to try to get in playing shape.
Prime Frank Gore would be elite in Shanahan’s offense, but he’s past that at this point, and his return to San Francisco should wait until his number is officially retired and he’s inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame.