COMMENTARY | After eight years in the NFL, San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is still churning. That in itself is a major accomplishment considering he battled serious knee injuries during his time at the University of Miami. However, those setbacks were not enough to keep him down. Given his will to win and desire to fight for every yard, 49er fans have embraced him as a proud member of their community.
Below are five reasons why we love Gore:
5. He Leads by Example
Gore is a blue-collar worker who just goes out and does his job. Despite nearing the end of his stellar career, he continues to lead by example. Whether his team wins or losses, his personality remains unchanged. That consistent demeanor is beneficial to his teammates, especially when a particular situation is not going well.
4. He is Versatile
Gore's versatility is what makes him one of the top backs in the NFL. He can run hard between the tackles, turn the corner outside, block in pass protection and catch balls out of the backfield. Whatever the 49ers want him to do, he'll do.
Despite having just 45 catches over the past two years, he did record 50-plus receptions in three of his eight seasons. While he lacked in reception totals since head coach Jim Harbaugh took over, he made up for them in rushing attempts. Gore's 282 and 258 carries are the most since 2006. Either way, he's getting touches, which is good news for the 49ers.
3. He is a Mentor
During his time at South Carolina, Lattimore tore his left ACL as a sophomore. The following year, he tore all three ligaments in his right knee. Having torn his ACL in both knees as a collegiate athlete, Gore understands Lattimore's situation.
Gore not only takes his teammates under his wing, but he is also willing to lend a helping hand to others around the league. This offseason, the ninth-year pro worked out with former Hurricane and current Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller. As a result of their training regiment, Miller has noticed vast physical improvements.
2. He is One of the Most Productive Running Backs in 49ers History
Gore is currently the 49ers' all-time rushing leader (8,839 yards) and rushing touchdown leader (51). He sits right up there with Joe Perry and Roger Craig. Playing behind a road-grating offensive line, expect the four-time Pro Bowler to have another productive season at 30 years old.
1. He is Persistent
Gore fought numerous injuries throughout his collegiate and pro career. But that has not kept him down. He continues to work hard and play every game likes it's his last.
Whether critics doubt that Gore can produce due to his age or durability, he uses that as motivation. Despite carrying the "injury-prone" label, the most games that he has missed in a single season was five, caused by a fractured hip in 2010. Since then, he missed just one game over the past two years.
Gore is currently the oldest running back slated to start on opening day, which is a testament to his work ethic and hunger to improve each season.
Travis Chan is a lifelong fan of the San Francisco 49ers. He is currently covering the team on the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
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