Lattimore still has four years left, figures into 49ers' RB mix now

Lattimore still has four years left, figures into 49ers' RB mix now
February 21, 2014, 8:30 am
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Marcus Lattimore still has four years on his contract because he was never on the 49ers’ 53-man roster last year. (49ERS.COM)

Programming note: 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco is on the ground in Indianapolis to cover the NFL Combine. Check back for his coverage all weekend and get the full report on SportsNet Central every night at 6 and 10:30 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS -- General manager Trent Baalke has often spoke of compiling a three-headed monster at the 49ers’ running back position.

But the 49ers actually went back more to a one-man show in 2013 with Frank Gore playing 75-percent of the team’s snaps during the regular season. It was the most action Gore has seen since 2006, his second season in the NFL and his first as a starter.

“Frank had an awfully good year,” Baalke said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “There were certain game situations where the coaching staff felt Frank needed to be on the field. And how could you argue with the success Frank had?”

Perhaps, the 49ers will begin spreading around the playing time with Marcus Lattimore’s availability.

Lattimore did not play at all in his rookie season, due to a severe knee injury he sustained in his final season at South Carolina. Lattimore still has four years remaining on his contract, Baalke said, because he was never part of the 49ers’ 53-man roster in his first NFL season. The 49ers selected Lattimore in the fourth round of last year's draft and spent his entire first year in full rehabilitation mode. Lattimore is expected to take part fully in the 49ers' offseason program, which opens April 21.

Gore is scheduled to return for the 49ers, too, along with Lattimore and reserve running backs Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. The 49ers appear to be in a better position than ever to dial back Gore’s playing time.

[RELATED: 49ers don't need Gore to take pay cut]

“At times we’ve seen that and at times we haven’t,” Baalke said about the 49ers’ usage of multiple running backs. “Really, the game dictates that. Individual games dictate how the individual running backs are used, and that’s up to the coaching staff.

“The players are there, the resources are there and how they manage those resources is totally up to them and it comes down to game-time decisions.”


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