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Sunday, August 21, 2011
On Frank Gore's frustration with 49ers

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Frank Gore should be frustrated over his contract situation, and he is, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Unfortunately for Gore, he's a 28-year-old running back coming off an injury-shortened season with one year remaining on his contract. Getting a lucrative long-term extension right now will be harder than getting one when he's pushing 29 years old next offseason.

The reality is that Gore has probably signed the final long-term, big-money deal of his career. He's sacrificed his body for the 49ers when they didn't have enough help around him. He's played hurt, demonstrated tremendous toughness and remained a team player even when the organization was suffering through dysfunction, particularly on offense.

There are two sides to this story.

The 49ers tore up Gore's rookie deal in 2007 after only two years, rewarding him for exceeding expectations that came with his status as a third-round draft choice.

"It's a little early," then-49ers coach Mike Nolan said at the time. "Frank just finished his second year. But we identified somebody we want in Frank. He's a young player and we wanted to extend it and it's still very early in his career."

The alternative for Gore would have been playing out that rookie deal, then signing a more representative extension a year or two later, in which case Gore would have multiple years remaining on his deal. Cashing in when he did, in 2007, reset the clock.

I do not envision the 49ers giving Gore millions in new money under the current circumstances. The team has a first-year head coach, a promising backup in Kendall Hunter and legitimate questions about Gore's durability.