Frank Gore, running back extraordinaire, talked with the media recently, in which discussion he handled questions about his looming retirement with class. David had an excellent post on this yesterday.
In the comments of David's article, a tweet from Eric Branch was posted. I'll reproduce it here:
Frank Gore on if certain guys taught him how to be a pro as a rookie on 2005 #49ers (Record: 4-12): "Nah. We didn’t have anybody."— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) August 20, 2014
This tweet sparked an interesting discussion of what Gore meant by his comment and if it constituted him throwing his past teammates under the proverbial bus. The discussion saw a lot of interesting arguments, with it culminating in two major points: 1) the roster for the 2005 team was certainly sub-par, so if Gore is talking about a mentoring situation, it stands to reason that there wouldn't be many people to mentor Gore effectively; and 2) the team seemed not to care that much about being professional football players anyway, as evidenced by their flippant attitude to a loss in contrast to Gore's very serious response to a loss. Commenter Algiers directs us to the first paragraph of this article; thanks, Algiers (the person on the internet, not the city)!
Both of these points are excellent, though I'd like to expand a bit more on the first one. We should note that Gore's answer, in as much as it is accurately represented in the tweet, cannot be throwing anybody under the bus since he doesn't actually name names. If there is any under bus throwing, it is with the team. Gore would be throwing the team under the bus, and I would imagine that he is including himself.
First, we should note Gore's use of the first-person pronoun "we." Am I reading too much into the syntax of what appears to be a short answer to a question? Perhaps, but given the typical football attitude of "we are the team" and "team first," I don't think it highly unusual to think that Gore might understand his answer as including both himself and the team.
And, second, this would seem to jive with what Gore has said about himself in the past. Having admitted that he used to have a hard time giving up carries to other people, Gore seems to be acknowledging that his current attitude toward mentoring rookies is a new thing for him - at least, new in the last couple of season. His reluctance to mentor people earlier in his career might suggest that his early seasons' team likewise had a lack of mentoring. Gore isn't throwing other people under the bus, he's simply showing that the culture of the current team is different than the 2005 team: back then, nobody was really inclined to help out his fellow teammate.
Is this speculative? Of course. It would be disingenuous of me to not even acknowledge it; that's how speculative this argument is. It's not like I'm going to re-write my head cannon of the 2005 team, making Kevan Barlow out to be a mustache twirling villain because he won't help out a young Frank Gore. He isn't a monster for that reason. But, in trying to understand Gore's comment, this is the best that I can do.