Running back Frank Gore chose the team that offered him a multi-year contract, more money and -- perhaps most important -- the team that has the best chance of winning a February game at Levi’s Stadium.
That is why Gore signed a three-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday after spending 10 seasons with the 49ers and exiting as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.
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"It was very tough,” Gore said in an interview for the team's official website. “I've been in San Fran for 10 years with a great organization. At this point in my career, I want to be with a team whose got a shot to get the trophy. When you play this game, when you're done, you want to be able to hold the trophy. And I think me coming here -- on the field, off the field -- I can help this team out a lot."
Gore hopes to achieve the Super Bowl ring that eluded him when the 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. The Colts also added wide receiver Andre Johnson in hopes of reaching Super Bowl 50, which is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2016, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Gore has rushed for 1,000 yards or more in eight seasons since coming to the 49ers as a third-round draft pick in 2005. After his contract expired, Gore became a free agent for the first time in his NFL career.
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The 49ers offered him a one-year contract worth $4 million after, CSN Bay Area’s Mindi Bach reported, after earning $6.45 million in each of the past two seasons. His deal with the Colts is three-years, $12 million, with $7.5 million guaranteed, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Initially, Gore agreed to a contract of a similar structure from the Philadelphia Eagles over the weekend. But he reconsidered and ended up in Indianapolis.
“I had an opportunity to be a free agent,” Gore said. “And I had an opportunity to go other places. And I feel like this is the right place for me.
“If I want to take the right step and try to get a championship, I feel like this is the right place. ... I just had to follow my heart.”