Marcus Lattimore's stint with the San Francisco 49ers was certainly brief, but unique enough to not be forgotten any time soon.
The former South Carolina running back, who suffered two knee injuries in college, reflected back on his football career, including his unorthodox journey in and out of the pros.
"I went out there and put a smile on my face like everything was alright," Lattimore said about his time with the 49ers in a recent interview with SB Nation. "But it was hell. Every day."
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Given his injury history, and the severity of his latest one against the Tennessee Volunteers, Lattimore added that he was surprised San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke drafted him at all.
"I mean, why would you take a running back with two horrible knee injuries?" Lattimore said, wondering about his own fourth-round draft slot in 2013. “I did pretty good, I played good in college, but if I’m a GM I don’t think I would do it."
Lattimore never played a down in the National Football League.
The former All-SEC product also revealed his true state during workouts and rehab recovery in Santa Clara, which apparently differed from what the 49ers observed.
“My running backs coach was like, ‘Good job! Good job!’” Lattimore said. "My offensive coordinator — I was catching balls out of the backfield — was like, 'Man you look good!' I was like, 'You have no clue.'"
But those close to Lattimore had a deeper understanding, knowing something wasn't quite right.
"I would ask him, 'How was your day?'" Miranda Bailey, Lattimore's fiance, said in the interview. "And he would just say 'good' and he would never elaborate."
"He put up a big front for everyone else, but I could see it in him," his mother, Yolanda Smith, says. "The light was gone."
Lattimore retired on Nov. 5, 2014. He served most of his days on NFL injury lists and never appeared in a professional game.