Question marks abound in respect to Frank Gore's future. I'm sure that many of us want these questions answered soon. Gore is frequently called the "heart and soul" of the offense, but in a lot of ways he is also the "heart and soul" of 49er fandom. People want him to succeed; I've never wanted a player to get a ring or into the Hall of Fame more than Gore. So, naturally, I want him back on the 49ers. I would hate to see him playing for another team.
It seems like Trent Baalke feels the same way. He recently approached Gore to tell him that the team wants him back. Recently, Mindi Bach interviewed Gore himself, and it sounds like he wants to come back next season too. Let's take a look at some of his comments.
One of the big obstacles to Gore's return is his role in the offense next year. It may be that Gore wants to be a feature RB on a team where he can take control of the reins. Or, at least, people mention this as a possibility. Gore seems to disagree, however: "I feel if they want us to compete for the job, let's do it. I'm not scared to do that. Let's do it. I know I still can play the game. As long as God, he's got me healthy, I'm going to be Frank Gore."
He doesn't seem to worried about the prospect of competing for a job; rather, he seems to want to win. In answering another questions, Gore mentioned the pieces of the team that will be back for another season: "I know there will be changes, but I think the guys at the key positions, that's what matters. Next year, I think Kap will get back to himself. Anquan Boldin will come back. Stevie Johnson is still under contract. Vernon Davis is still under contract. Joe Staley, Anthony Davis. I look at Patrick Willis will be back, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, for the season. So I think the guys at the key spots are good enough for me to say, ‘Yeah, I want to be back.'"
This is the attitude we've come to expect from Gore: he will do whatever it takes to win. At this point in his career, that is what is most important. There's no need to search for millions of dollars (he honestly wouldn't find it) - additionally, he's been the feature back for ten years now. What he doesn't have is a ring; that's what he wants, and if he believes that he can get it with the 49ers, then there's no reason to go anywhere else.
In addition to that, however, is the fact that Gore feels comfortable with the Bay Area and with the 49ers. Here's what he had to say about the temptation to seek offers from other teams: "I'll sit and talk with my agent and let him do what he thinks is best. But my first priority is I want to be a Niner. I've been here ten years. The organization has been great to me. The fans, they've been here when I was down. And these last three years when we were up they've been here. It's been a great ten years here. My first priority is I want to see what the Niners say."
These are not exactly the words of a guy who is trying to play teams off of each other. Gore seems to feel a sense of loyalty to the 49ers for all that they've given him. Given his strong ties to Florida (where he grew up and went to college), I don't find it surprising at all that Gore likes to maintain connections with places to which he feels loyal. The 49ers are important to Gore.
I would recommend that you all check out the rest of the article; it's an interesting piece with a lot of good answers from Gore. I hope that this isn't the last one we read from him in the coming year.