Three weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers cleared Marcus Lattimore to begin practicing with the team. Friday marked what is likely his final practice session this season. Lattimore opened the season on the NFI list, and the team took advantage of the three-week practice window this past month. The end of the three weeks means the team either activates him, or places him on injured reserve the rest of the season. The 49ers are likely going to place him on injured reserve and prepare for his return next season.
CSN Bay Area had a chance to talk to with Lattimore following his last practice, and naturally he said he felt he could play if needed right now. However, he recognized that the additional time to get ready for next season allows him time to get used to life without a knee brace.
The 49ers will head into this offseason with Anthony Dixon entering free agency. Given the number of running backs on the roster, I would be surprised if Dixon was back with the 49ers. Instead, the 49ers will likely head into next season with a running back corps that includes Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Marcus Lattimore and Jewel Hampton. For those that forgot, Hampton is on the practice squad. The team will likely bring in one or two more running backs through undrafted free agency.
Gore will be entering the final season of his contract. The team has plenty of players to consider for the future beyond Frank Gore, but it remains to be seen what exactly that will include. Per the CSN Bay area article, Lattimore is expected to be a full participant in the 49ers offseason program. That will have him ready to compete when training camp begins. Gore would seem likely to maintain his starting role, but there will be a lot of opportunities behind him given the strengths of the 49ers in regards to running the ball. It will be interesting to see how Lattimore and Hunter match up in the depth chart competition.