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Months ago, 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore said he believed he was healthy enough to play late in his rookie season.
He has experienced no setbacks during his offseason workout program and is scheduled to be in Santa Clara on Monday for the opening of the 49ers’ offseason program, he told The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.
The first two weeks of NFL offseason programs consist of supervised work with teams’ strength-and-conditioning staffs. At the beginning of the third week, coaching staffs are allowed on the field to provide football instruction. Lattimore has spent the offseason working out back home in South Carolina.
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Lattimore, who practiced for several weeks last season before finishing the season on the non-football injury list, will be a full-go for all conditioning and football activities.
“After my injury, I just wanted to walk again,” Lattimore told The State on Friday. “It was tough, very tough. We’re a playoff team, so we play 20-plus games. Being on that sideline, we got so close to the Super Bowl title the last three years.
“But I’m blessed to be in this situation. Never would have thought in a million years I’d be in this situation.”
Lattimore figures into the mix for the 49ers in 2014. Running back Frank Gore, who turns 31 next month, is entering the final year of his contract. Reserve running back Anthony Dixon signed with the Buffalo Bills in the offseason. Kendall Hunter enters the offseason as the 49ers’ No. 2 running back.
Disgruntled LaMichael James may not figure into the 49ers’ plans and he would welcome a trade this offseason, a source said. There will be an opportunity for Lattimore, a star running back at South Carolina before a grisly knee injury ended his college career, to win a significant role.
“If that happens, it does put me in that No. 3 spot,” Lattimore said of a potential James trade. “But I’ve just got to go in there and work hard. I can pass-protect and run the ball. I’ve got to show that.
“If I prove it in practice, I don’t think there’s no excuse why I can’t play,” Lattimore said. “I’m ready.”