Programming note: Jed York and Trent Baalke will hold a press conference Monday at 1:00 p.m. Watch on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and streaming live right here.
SANTA CLARA –- Running back Frank Gore admits to getting emotional Sunday on one of the more emotional regular-season finales in 49ers history.
The 10-year professional certainly proved his point that he has an 11th season left in those old legs of his. Gore rushed for 144 yards on 25 rushing attempts in the 49ers’ 20-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
“I cried today because when I first got here I was 21,” Gore said. “I’ve never been in this situation. I’m not under contract, and knowing this could be my last game here. It was tough. It was tough because that’s all I know. When I got here, I was a kid.”
It also difficult, Gore said, because as everybody knew, it was a foregone conclusion coach Jim Harbaugh was in his final game on the 49ers’ sideline. The 49ers and Harbaugh mutually agreed to part ways, as CEO Jed York announced in a statement shortly after the game.
“I respect coach Harbaugh,” Gore said. “I respect Jed. That’s the decision they made and it’s a business. I wish coach Harbaugh is the best. He’s a great coach. I love his approach to football. When he was here, we won.
“I know whatever team he goes to, NFL or college, he’s going to get it done.”
And, it’s only fitting that Gore played a huge part in enabling the 49ers to finish with an 8-8 record, delivering Harbaugh his 49th victory in four seasons at the helm.
“It means a lot, especially, this could be my last year and it’s his last year,” Gore said. “I respect him a lot. I wanted to finish it right for him. I also wanted to finish it right for my fans, who’ve been with me since I was 21 when I first got here.”
Gore received a standing ovation when he was announced prior to the game. He also heard the chants of “Gore! Gore! Gore!” throughout the game.
“They’re great fans,” Gore said. “When we were down, they were with us. When we were up, they were with us. This year was a disappointing year, but they still were here. I just wanted to finish it right. If I’m not here (next year), I just wanted to show my fans the way a 49er is supposed to play.”
General manager Trent Baalke told CSNBayArea.com last week he wants to re-sign Gore. And Gore made it clear he wants to come back. But he also said he wants to see how the 49ers replace Harbaugh and which veteran players return to the team.
“I want to know what coaching staff comes in, also what guys I’ve been here with and I know are ballers, game on the line, they’re going to fight like me,” Gore said. “That’s what I want to know.”
Gore understands that the 49ers have two younger running backs under contract for next season. The 49ers selected Carlos Hyde in the second round. As a rookie, he gained 333 yards and four touchdowns on 83 rushing attempts.
“I want to be back,” Gore said. “I hope we can get things worked out. But I also know it’s a business. We got Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter, and they have potential to be great. I know if Coach (Tom) Rathman is here with them, he’ll make sure they are.”