Frank Gore hopeful of new deal
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Frank Gore is encouraged that progress might be made toward the new contract he wants.
His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was scheduled to meet Monday with the team, though Gore wasn't sure when the process would begin. The two-time Pro Bowl running back has repeatedly said he would like a new, long-term commitment from the team before the Sept. 11 season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
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"He's here. I'm happy about that," Gore said about Rosenhaus during an interview with The Associated Press. "It may pick up. That's a positive. I hope I'll get a fair deal. I want to be a 49er for my career. I love it here. I love my teammates. I like the new coaching staff. I can see that we're going to get things together here. Having a football coach like Jim Harbaugh and his style of doing what they're doing and knowing what they want from each and every player, and that's being a football player."
The 28-year-old Gore, who missed the final five games last season with a broken right hip, said it's "a step" in the right direction that Rosenhaus and Niners executives are meeting face to face.
"I just want to get it done, man. Hopefully both sides will come to a fair deal and I can be here and get it out of my head and try to get (going on) these 16 weeks and move on and win the West," Gore said. "It's best for me to let the fans know I want to be here. It's not me. It comes down to the organization and the team."
Both general manager Trent Baalke and team president Jed York have said they would like to make Gore a "49er for life," while Harbaugh has made similar statements.
The 28-year-old Gore, who held out for the first four days of training camp, was sidelined for the last five games of 2010 after sustaining the hip injury in a Monday night game at Arizona on Nov. 29.
It's best for me to let the fans know I want to be here. It's not me. It comes down to the organization and the team.” -- Frank Gore
Gore would like 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 includes $21 million guaranteed. Williams missed the final 10 games last year with a sprained right foot.
Gore begins the year third on the franchise career rushing list. He needs 931 yards to be No. 1. He wants to have a big year to help turn the 49ers around after eight straight seasons without a playoff berth or winning record.
He ran for 853 yards and three touchdowns last year before getting hurt in his sixth NFL season. Gore also caught 46 passes for 452 yards and two TDs. His 24 100-yard rushing games are the most in 49ers history.
The 49ers rewarded two other key players with long-term contracts last year.
Tight end Vernon Davis signed a five-year extension worth $37 million overall, including $34 million guaranteed, a night before the 2010 season opener. That made him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history. In May of last year, 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. He earns $10 million per season.
Willis is one of several teammates to say he's hoping the offensive star will receive a new deal soon.
"Frank is a very valuable asset to our team. The offense for many years now has gone right through him," Willis told the AP on Monday. "I would love to just have him as a part of this team and I'd love to have him get that off his mind so he can put it all in what he knows how to do best, and that's to play football."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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