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Golden Nuggets: Legacies Cemented

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Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 edition of the Golden Nuggets, a daily compilation of San Francisco 49ers links from the Internet

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The end of an era in 49ers football is here. Two players that have been the face of the franchise for the last 10 years are gone. Frank Gore signed with the Colts while unexpectedly Patrick Willis retired at the ripe age of 30. Frank Gore leaving was something most Niners fans were ready for. We were prepared for it. The Patrick Willis retirement was a gut punch. No one knew he was going to retire. He even said at the end of the season, he felt he could play a few more seasons. At some point, he had a change of heart.

Patrick Willis' retirement, once it was announced, became a topic of debate. People were trying to find out what happened to make a player, at only 30 years old, retire from a game most players will not leave on their own. Religion, injuries, and management issues were all reasons used. After his press conference, we now know the culprit. His toes would not let him play. To be exact, Patrick didn't want to play a game at a mediocre level, which he thinks his toes will make him do. He wants to play at a Hall of Fame level every down. His toes will not allow him to play at the level he wants. And for that reason, I appreciate the honesty from Willis. He will go down as a Niners all-time great. Awhile ago, an ex-girlfriend asked me to teach her about players on the 49ers. When I came to Willis, I had only 1 word to describe him to her: beast. He was a beast at the LB position. We will all remember that. Because he will not allow himself to play at a mediocre level, we will fondly remember him as a great LB. That's how he wanted to go out.

Frank Gore has cemented his legacy in a Niners jersey. Top running back in 49ers history. He went to get one more payday before he probably calls it quits. And the Colts were a much better option for him than the Eagles. They have Andrew Luck, who is on the way to be one of the top QBs, if he's not already there. Gore could potentially help the Colts get to a Super Bowl with a running game. His whole career is about him overachieving. With all the knee injuries suffered before coming into the league, he lasted all these seasons and had great seasons with terrible teams. He was a lone bright spot. He will always be remembered by Niners fans. The "Tank" who ran with a low center of gravity, hiding behind huge linemen, and popping through gaps. Not great speed, but enough to bust runs through defenses.

It's going to be weird next season watching the Niners without these two fixtures. Most Niners fans don't even want to think about it. Best of luck to these 2 red and gold legends. We appreciate you guys for everything. Class all the way around.

49ers Links

FA: Chris Cook (Gutierrez)

49ers Track Record (Gin)

Putting A Number On P. Willis (Gutierrez)

This is greatness | Best Of Willis Mic'd Up (49ers Video)

10 Things To Know About Willis (Price)

Can't believe this actually happened | Willis Announces Retirement (Maiocco)

Continues His Journey (Maiocco)

Nothing but great things spoken about him | What Players Said About Willis (49ers Staff)

Don't Panic Fans (Bedard)

Announcing His Retirement (Biderman)

Good luck Frank. I'll be rooting for you | Gore Signs With Colts (Barrows)

Finally some good news | Torrey Signs (Biderman)

Gore Becomes Colt's Workhorse (Maiocco)

"Today I Get To Retire Happy" (Inman)

Can someone find a Dr. to help him out? I don't want him to go | Retiring Because Of His Feet (Barrows)

A steep price to pay | Speed Costs 5 Yrs/ $40 Million (Inman)

Team Gets Their Man (Biderman)

49ers Are Going To Miss #52 (Kawakami)

Another Niners Legends Leaves (Inman)

You know Baalke had to deal with free agency, right Tim? | Kawakami Starting More Drama (Kawakami)

Justin Smith News (Maiocco)

Good for him. Very happy he went out on his own terms | Willis Happy With Decision (Maiocco)

Team Pursuing Bush (Maiocco)

YAAAA! Great news | Gabbert Resigned (Maiocco)

I hate your feet Pat! | Willis Cites Feet (McCauley)

Team Resigns Long Snapper (Gutierrez)

Minor 49ers Moves (Biderman)

No Perrish Cox? (Ruthless Sports Guy)

Torrey Smith Signs (Ruthless Sports Guy)

He's a Hall of Famer in Niners fans eyes. I hope the voters recognize his greatness | Willis And The Hall Of Fame (BASG)

Blaine Staying (BASG)