SANTA CLARA -– Fans at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday will get a chance to say good-bye.
Or, at least, they’ll get a chance to cover their bases in the event that the final game of the regular season brings about the final time to say good-bye to some popular individuals.
Of course, there is coach Jim Harbaugh, who according to multiple sources and reports will appear on the 49ers’ sideline for the final time. But there are also a couple of players who have been fan favorites through the years.
Running back Frank Gore, the all-time franchise leader in rushing, does not have a contract for next season. Although general manager Trent Baalke this week told CSNBayArea.com he wants Gore to re-sign with the 49ers, there are no guarantees.
Also, defensive lineman Justin Smith has yet to public reveal a decision on whether to return for his 15th NFL season.
Harbaugh was asked how he would like the team’s fan base to react to those players on Sunday.
“Well, I think the fans will…They know,” Harbaugh said. “They appreciate and they have always been so very supportive of somebody’s best effort. Somebody gives it their very best and it’s always been appreciated by our fans and by our fan base, and not just here at the stadium, but everywhere we go. They’re there early, they’re there throughout the ballgame, they’re there after the ballgame. This is a fan base that is very appreciative and I know how they’ll respond to guys like Frank Gore, that you mentioned, and all of our players.”
And Harbaugh drew on his own experience as a player who took part in 14 NFL seasons to describe what the players are thinking as they head in the season finale.
“Whether you’re a veteran player or a very young player or somewhere in between or some player that maybe thinks that they’ve got that locked up, you never know,” Harbaugh said. “So it’s a great opportunity to go out there and show and prove that, yes, you do have another year of football in you and to be played.”