The San Francisco 49ers kick off the 2015 NFL regular season on Monday Night Football, on September 14. That game. means San Francisco is now a mere 21 days away from kicking off its 2015 regular season. In the spirit of that approaching date, I thought I would steal this idea from our Oakland Raiders site.
Who wore it best: RB Frank Gore (2005-2014)
Welp, that was easy enough. The 49ers have had some talented players sport No. 21. Eric Wright wore it from 1981 to 1990 as part of the 49ers strong secondary during the dynasty years. Deion Sanders sported it for one season in 1994, putting together a Defensive Player of the Year campaign.
But there was never going to be any doubt who got this slot. Frank the Tank, the Inconvenient Truth, whatever you want to call him. Frank Gore is the franchise's all-time leading rusher, a good 2,400 yards up on Joe Perry, and 4,000 yards up on Roger Craig. We can go through the stats all day. He set the franchise single season rushing record, and but for a busted hip in 2010, would have had nine straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
But really, it goes beyond that. It is cliched to talk about heart and grit, but Frank Gore was what made the offense go. Unfortunately, as is all too common in the NFL, the 49ers decided it was time to get younger and look to the future. Gore joined the Indianapolis Colts in free agency, and has a strong chance of being back at Levi's Stadium next February for the Super Bowl. There is a lot of football to be played, but that Colts offense is looking really good. They need their defense to operate as well, but they are a contender.
Will No. 21 get retired?
Nobody is wearing the jersey this year, and even if the number is not retired, I would not expect anybody to wear it for the foreseeable future. The team has created a Hall of Fame, and it will not be long before Gore is inducted there. I do think Gore was a transcendent enough franchise player that it makes sense to retire his number. However, I also would not be surprised if the team uses the franchise Hall of Fame to recognize players moving forward.