SANTA CLARA – Running back Frank Gore is not entering his 10th NFL training camp expecting -- or hoping for -- a lighter workload, that’s for sure.
“When my number’s called to be out there, I’m out there,” he said Wednesday upon reporting to camp.
Last season, Gore played 75 percent of the 49ers’ offensive snaps during the regular season. He rushed for 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns, but he was equally valuable as a blocker in passing situations.
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At a time in his career when most running backs are former running backs or are in the process of being replaced, Gore last season played the second-most snaps of his career. He was on the field for a career-high 77 percent of the 49ers’ snaps in 2006, his first year as a starter.
Does he want to continue with the big workload?
“I’m still here, so why not?” he said.
In the past four years, the 49ers have drafted prominent college running backs Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Marcus Lattimore and Carlos Hyde. All of those players would like to chip away at Gore’s playing time.
But Gore, 31, is not giving anything to anybody.
“I’m from Miami,” he said. “I’ve been competing ever since I left high school. I’ve been with top guys who’ve been in the league. I’m up for it. One day, they’re going to get this role. But I’m here, and I’m going to make it a challenge.”
Gore is the 49ers’ all-time leading rusher and he is just 33 yards shy of reaching the 10,000-mark milestone for his career. As he enters the final year of his contract, Gore said he is merely focused on what’s directly in front of him without considering what the future holds.
“I train hard in the offseason,” he said. “I practice hard during camp. And I’m just going to try to be the Frank Gore I’ve always been.”