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.
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.