Going 1-on-1 with Frank Gore

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Going 1-on-1 with Frank Gore

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Don't miss Mindi Bach's feature on Frank Gore as part of the latest edition of 49ers Central, premiering Wednesday at 6:30 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and showing throughout the week.

Frank Gore is not only a marvel to fans of the game, but to his own head coach.

Ive never seen anything like him to be honest with you. I cant compare him to any other player that Ive ever been around, Jim Harbaugh said in his weekly Monday press conference the day after Gore became the franchises leading rusher with 7,396 yards.

Then, when you add up the injuries hes had, some of the serious knee, shoulder, hip-type of injuries, lesser guys would have called it a career, let alone to come back and having the kind of year that Frank is having. Hes a different guy. Hes not normal. Hes not you and me. No, hes not any of us. Not the normal guy. There are super human powers there.

And Harbaugh wasnt done. Later in the press conference, he came back to Gore again.

There should be a statue to Frank. Maybe with the new stadium, Harbaugh said. There should be something somewhere. A life-size statue of him in one of those cool positions he gets in. About six inches off the ground, or a leg going on way, and the other going the other, twisting and turning. Its just so cool. Its just so cool to slow the tape down and watch what he does.

Gores 49ers teammates are in awe of his vision, acumen of the game, strength and work ethic. Not to be overlooked is Gores loyalty. Gore never experienced a winning season with the 49ers until this one. He could have cashed in on his rare talents elsewhere, yet he stayed.

I had an opportunity to speak with Gore about that, one-on-one, the morning after he topped the teams rushing list.

MB: When you woke up this morning, was it hard to believe what had transpired?

FG: Its been a long time, a long time for me. Im happy about the situation were in right now. Weve worked really hard to get where we are now. Its a blessing. Like you say man, this has been our goal since Ive been here and now we did it. We made it. We got our goal and now the next step is as a team is try and get the number 1-2 seed.

MB: Speaking to Patrick Willis, he hadnt had a winning record since his freshman year in college.

FG: Wow.

MB: That was also the best year you could say you had collegiately as well.

FG: Yeah, right.

MB: What was the toughest time? What kept you driving through all the frustration of not going to the postseason?

FG: Just, I love what I do. I knew we had the players here and I knew we had the players in the locker room. I just always thought that it was going to happen, it was going to happen, and I just kept fighting, and we just kept fighting as a team. I say now, God blessed us to get a better coaching staff and leading us the right way and were following them.

MB: Even before you knew what that coaching staff was able to do, you wanted to come back to the 49ers and extend your contract. What was it that kept you here? I think a lot of people would look for a better situation elsewhere if they hadnt had a winning season in nine years.

FG: Knowing that the guys in the locker room know how hard we worked. We got a good group of guys. You see other guys when you go other places get paid big money and stuff, they be there one or two years and you dont hear from them no more. I just wanted to be here because I knew that, like I said, that one day it was going to happen because I know what kind of guys we had in the locker room. As I said before, Coach Harbaugh and his coaching staff do a good job with us.

MB: Who taught you that? Where did you get that mentality to stick it through and stick with the people you believed in most?

FG: Id say my mom. My mom really taught me well and always be honest and always, when you start something with someone you always want to finish with them first. Id say my mom did a great job with me.

Gore lost his mom to kidney disease in 2007

MB: What do you think she would have said yesterday?

FG: She would have been very happy. She knows how much I love what I do and how hard I work in the offseason to get ready for the year, and I know she would have been, she would have loved it. Shes still watching over me and shes still smiling up there right now.

MB: To be in your seventh year here and now be the teams leading rusher, I know you have a mind for history and the players that came before you, what does that mean for you to be up there with those names?

FG: Its a blessing. Them guys, I didnt really see Joe Perry but I saw Roger, and Roger was a great player. I respect him, I respect him a whole lot and its a blessing to be mentioned with them guys. And now the next thing is hopefully I can do something like Roger did and win a Super Bowl.
MB: I was going to say Whats next for Frank Gore?, but I think you just answered it.

FG: Hopefully we get rolling, keep fighting and when the playoffs start anything happens, anything goes and hopefully me and the Niners win the Super Bowl hopefully.
MB: Yesterday, I saw more Frank Gore jerseys in the stand than Ive ever seen before. What do you want the Frank Gore story to be?

FG: Just, how much I love what I do how hard I work and what a great person I am. I respect everybody and thats about it.

49ers trade up, select QB C.J. Beathard in third round of 2017 NFL Draft

49ers trade up, select QB C.J. Beathard in third round of 2017 NFL Draft

C.J. BEATHARD
Position: Quarterback
College: Iowa
Height: 6-2
Weight: 219
Selection: Third round, No. 104 overall

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers traded back into the end of the third round to select a quarterback to join Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley on the 49ers' roster.

General manager John Lynch's fourth trade of the draft netted the team the grandson of legendary NFL personnel man Bobby Beathard. His grandson, C.J., joins the 49ers after a four-year career at Iowa. Beathard completed 58.6 percent of his passes last season with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Beathard was not generally expected to be chosen within the first two days of the draft. He was the sixth quarterback selected, falling behind Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Deshone Kizer and Davis Webb.

"They won't regret it," Beathard said on a conference call with the Bay Area media.

The 49ers traded up with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings had the No. 104 pick, and called the 49ers to see if they were interested in a trade. After some consideration, the 49ers decided to move up from No. 109 while also giving the Vikings a seventh-round pick at No. 219.

"Might he have been there at 109? That’s what we had to weigh," 49ers John Lynch said. "But at the end of the day, we felt like it was worth it to be able to go to bed knowing that we had a player that we liked and want the opportunity develop at the quarterback position."

And that's what coach Kyle Shanahan plans on doing. He said Beathard is not coming to the team this season to compete with Hoyer for the starting job.

"We’re bringing him in here to develop him and give him a chance, but just like any other position, everyone competes," Shanahan said. "Brian is our starting quarterback and, right now, Matt Barkley is our second. And I look at him to come in and be our third with us only having three on the roster.

"By no means did we come into this draft thinking we’re going to get a guy to compete with Brian."

Shanahan said Beathard and Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman were the two quarterbacks in the draft who ran offenses in college most similar to the offense he will install with the 49ers.

"One thing that helps is being able to see guys play the way you’re going to ask them to play," Shanahan said. "It helps being at Iowa and watching the system he’s in. It’s easier to see to watch him over the years. He’s a three-year starter. He’s led his team to a bunch of wins, especially in 2015 when they had a better team and he played unbelievable."

As a junior at Iowa, Beathard completed 61.6 percent of his pass attempts for 2,809 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. 

"He’s a leader. He’s tough. He processes very well," Shanahan said. "He's extremely accurate and he lives and dies football."

49ers select CB Ahkello Witherspoon in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select CB Ahkello Witherspoon in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

AHKELLO WITHERSPOON
Position: Cornerback
College: Colorado
Height: 6-2 3/4
Weight: 193
Selection: Third round, No. 66 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, a Sacramento native, in the third round of the NFL draft with the No. 66 overall pick.

“Being close to home is an incredible opportunity, as well as the type of defense they play -- press man, up in your face,” Witherspoon said. “When I came in for a visit, they were asking me if I’ve adopted that role and if I’d be willing to continue that. And I said, ‘Absolutely.’

“It’s an opportunity to play for such a great organization, close to home, with such a savvy defensive mentality. I think it’s going to be a great place for me.”

The 49ers were also scheduled to have the next pick, but traded the selection at No. 67 for the New Orleans Saints’ second-round pick in next year’s draft, as well as a seventh-round selection (No. 229 overall) this year. The 49ers now have 10 picks in next year’s draft.

The Saints used that pick at No. 67 to select Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara.

Witherspoon began his college career at Sacramento City. He played his final three college seasons at Colorado. He started 12 games last season and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

Witherspoon led the nation with 22 pass breakups. He recorded one interception -- a game-saving pick in the end zone to preserve a 41-38 victory over Oregon. A pre-med student majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, he said he aspires to be a doctor after his football career.

But Witherspoon said he is committed to football and promised the 49ers during his visit to Santa Clara that he will make huge strides over the next few years as he continues to develop as a player.