Frank Gore spoke on a conference call this afternoon about his three-year contract extension and how happy he is that he can one day retire as a 49er.
He talked about why it’s important for him to be a Niner for life, what drives him, and who he patterns his game after.
He also revealed a compliment his old offensive coordinator and current San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner gave to him, calling Gore “Emmitt Smith but a little faster.”
Here’s the complete transcript.
Q: How did this come about the last couple days? And what kind of a relief is it to get this over with?
GORE: It’s real big, especially knowing that the team that drafted me stepped up and showed me that they want me here for my whole career, and to my fans that I’m a Niner for life. I also want to thank Jed, Trent, my Coach Harbaugh, Paraag, and also my agent Drew and his brother Jason for working it out and getting a fair deal for both sides. That’s a plus, and now I can just get ready for Seattle, and try to takes steps every week to win the West. I’m a Niner and I’m happy.
Q: Why was it important to you to finish your career as a 49er?
GORE: Because of the guys in the locker room. My team. The team that drafted me, that saw me as a pro coming out of college, they saw something in me. You rarely see running backs get to finish their career with the team that drafted them, and I can say I’m one of them. Hopefully I can get my name on the ten-year wall and break some more records out here.
Q: The team hasn’t had a winning record while you’ve been there. It’s cross-country from where you live. Why do you feel such an affinity for the 49ers, other than the fact that they were the team that drafted you?
GORE: I like it here. Like you said, we haven’t been having winning seasons, but the fans have been 100 percent behind us. We have great fans here. But, I see that Coach Harbaugh and his coaching staff are football guys and I have no doubt, I know that we can get it done. I know we’ve got talent in the locker room, we’ve probably got more talent that any team in the NFL. I love my teammates and I feel that we can get it done with the talent in the locker room.
Q: You’ve followed LaDainian Tomlinson’s career. He started on one team and went to another. Is that what you’re talking about, guys like him who don’t end up finishing their careers on the teams that they began their careers with.
GORE: Yeah, him for example, Clinton Portis for example, Larry Johnson for example, the list goes on. The team stepped up and showed me they wanted me here for at least 10, 11 years of my career. I’m happy about that and now I can go out there and keep giving them my all on Sundays.
Q: Who did you pattern your game after?
GORE: I always liked Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. I like those guys when I was younger. A lot of guys right now say when they watch my style, even when I played with Norv Turner, he said, “You’re my Emmitt Smith but a little faster.”
Q: Barry Sanders only played for 10 years. Is that where you’re going to max out?
GORE: I won’t say that. My body’s feeling good. If I can go more, I would love to go more because I love the game of football. I won’t say that. But I would say, I’m happy to be a Niner and that they gave me a three-year extenstion.
Q: Have you ever thought about life after football? Do you foresee yourself remaining with the 49ers after your playing career is over?
GORE: Trent and I joked around about it. He knows how much I love the game of football. He knows how much I pay attention to other guys and see what types of players they are, and he did see I do have a skill to pick talent out. We’ll see. When that time comes, if they want to do that, they want me here to help them pick out players I’ll do it.
Q: What do you think it is about you that is able to cut through and find out what a teammate is all about?
GORE: Coming from the University of Miami, being around the Andre Johnsons, the Clinton Portis, the Willis McGahees, the Jon Vilmas. I know they love the game and I know I love the game. I can pick people by just talking to them and watching them in practice, especially when we get into gear, in pads, when we run live, seeing who will shy away from contact or who’s going to bring it every time. That’s how I judge it, just by going to the University of Miami and being from Miami. Playing high school ball in Miami where a lot of talented guys come from.
Q: When Jed and Trent said they wanted you to be a 49er for life, what gave you a good feeling that they were being sincere and this would really get done?
GORE: I know he won’t say if he didn’t mean it. Since I’ve been here they’ve been true to me, like my first deal after coming off that great year in 2006, they said I was going to get taken care of the following year and they did it. Just knowing that they won’t say anything unless it’s true.
Q: Does it still fuel you that other teams skipped over you in the draft?
GORE: It does. I still carry that chip on my shoulder, especially seeing the guys who went before me, the Ronnie Browns, the Cadillacs, and they’re all great players, the J.J. Arringtons, the Eric Sheltons, and me. And I told myself when I come in this league I’m going to show everybody that they passed up the best back. If you look at the careers, if you look at the numbers it shows just going into our seventh year. So yes, I do carry that chip on my shoulder, and I will continue to carry that on my shoulder.
GORE: I’m happy to be a Niner. I’m very happy this is over with. Let’s take steps and try to get this West and get to the playoffs. I’m happy right now.
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