Frank Gore admits 'slow' contract talks

Updated: August 23, 2011, 1:05 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Frank Gore isn't happy about the lack of progress in his talks with the San Francisco 49ers over a contract extension.

The two-time Pro Bowl running back said Monday that negotiations are "going slow" and he expects 49ers management to step up and work out a new deal before the regular season begins against Seattle on Sept. 11. He declined to comment about whether he would request a trade if there wasn't an extension in place by the opener.

"I would be upset," Gore said. "But I'm a football player. Like I said, I want to be here for my whole career, but it's up to (them) upstairs, the team. If they want me here, I want to be here."

The two sides don't seem anywhere close to reaching a new deal.

The Niners promised good-faith negotiations with Gore when he ended his four-day holdout and showed up for training camp. New coach Jim Harbaugh said Sunday he didn't sense any unhappiness in Gore and wouldn't get into what he called "water-cooler talk."

Gore is seeking a contract comparable to the $43 million, five-year deal running back DeAngelo Williams -- 20 days older than San Francisco's star -- recently received from the Carolina Panthers. That deal includes $21 million guaranteed.

Gore, making almost $5 million in the final year of his deal, said he plans to play out his contract but will surely test free agency next year if the 49ers don't give him an extension by his unofficial deadline.

"I'd like to get it done before the season, but right now things (are) not looking too good," Gore said. "But I'm going to come to work and be here for my teammates and try to do the best for me when I touch the green and play on Sundays."

The 49ers have shelled out big money previously.

On the eve of last season, they rewarded tight end Vernon Davis with a five-year extension worth $37 million overall, including $34 million guaranteed -- making him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history. In May 2010, All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis received a $50 million, five-year contract extension that takes him through the 2016 season and includes $29 million in guaranteed money.

Gore's case may be slightly different.

The former University of Miami standout missed the final five games last season after he fractured his right hip in a Monday night game at Arizona on Nov. 29. Gore, who tore ligaments in both knees with the Hurricanes, avoided surgery on his hip after doctors told him he likely could return to form with rehabilitation.

Gore insists he's fully healthy now. He needs 931 yards to break Hall of Famer Joe "The Jet" Perry's franchise rushing mark. Gore's 24 100-yard rushing games are already the most in 49ers history.

He said the team is working daily with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on a new deal and he is trying to remain optimistic that things will work out.

"If it don't happen, I just got to put the best film out there on the last year of my contract and try to test the market," he said. "Whatever team wants me, try to do the same for whoever gets me."

Notes

The 49ers traded safety Taylor Mays to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, a source told ESPN's Shelley Smith. The Bengals acquired the 2010 second-round pick for an undisclosed draft pick, the source said. ... The 49ers signed P Sam Paulescu and activated WR Dominique Zeigler from the physically unable to perform list. ... The team waived QB Jeremiah Masoli and K Fabrizio Scaccia to clear space. ... Starting P Andy Lee, who injured his hip in Saturday's 17-3 exhibition win over the Oakland Raiders, was in uniform on the field during the portion of practice open to reporters.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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