Prior to practice yesterday, 49ers running back Frank Gore spoke with the media for a solid eight minutes and discussed a variety of topics. I've embedded CSN Bay Area's video after the jump, and you can also check out the transcript at Grant Cohn's page at the Press Democrat.
The first six minutes feature a mix of questions about the road trip, beating the Eagles and playing for Coach Harbaugh. There are some interesting comments, but I think the best part of the interview starts at the 5:57 mark. Gore is asked about being a big time running back and giving up carries this past Sunday to Kendall Hunter. I'm not sure what kind of discussion Gore and Coach Harbaugh had prior to Sunday's game, but he gave a really impressive answer.
Gore made two points in his answer. The first was that it would be wrong for him "as a man" to have Kendall Hunter practice all week while Gore was limited, and then Gore takes the starting job back on Sunday. He didn't think it would be fair to do that to Kendall. While Gore did finish with more carries during the game, Hunter got the official start and was mixed in plenty on running and passing plays.
The second point Gore made was that he recognized Hunter could be a big help to them. "If he can help this team get to that level that I've never been, I'm willing to let him help me." I'm sure some would say, "Well Frank, it's a team game and you should be expected to be a team player. This shouldn't be some big deal." I would counter by pointing to his tenure and role with the team. It's easy to say he should be amenable to letting Hunter take more carries, but when this is about a player's livelihood it's not a simply task to voluntarily give up some of your role. Asking for help is no small task and given the confidence a professional athlete needs to have to be a success, it takes a big man to admit he needs help.
While I think Frank is mature enough to handle this kind of transition, I also think this goes to show a buy-in to what Jim Harbaugh is doing. If this was anytime in the recent past, I don't think this would be going quite as well. This team is buying into what Jim Harbaugh is saying. You could argue they're buying in because it appears to be working, and you could also argue it's working because they're buying in. Whatever the case, this is a strong unit that believes in each other and is creating a solid base to build for the future.
Frank Gore Media Session