49ers legends sound off praise on Frank Gore retirement

Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The 49ers’ all-time leading rusher, Frank Gore, is finally calling it a career, and it’s a storied one at that. See what his former teammates had to say.

No one expected San Francisco 49ers then-rookie running back Frank Gore to become one of the most storied players in recent NFL history when the team drafted him in Round 3, No. 65 overall, out of the University of Miami in the 2005 NFL Draft.

No one.

After all, Gore was an oft-injured prospect who flashed plenty of promise but wasn’t going to be a pinnacle running back at the pro level.

Well, fast-forward to 2022, and Gore not only became San Francisco’s leading all-time rusher but also the No. 3 rusher in NFL history, period. Of the top 16 players on that storied list, only Gore and a still-active Adrian Peterson are the only two not (yet) inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Finishing his 16-year playing career with an astounding 16,000 rush yards yet not having been signed by a team in 2021, the 38-year-old Gore is finally announcing his retirement, intending to sign a one-day contract with the team that originally drafted him and gave him that chance, the 49ers.

Gore eventually wants to make his way into the Niners’ front office, perhaps serving as a running backs coach or being involved in player development.

San Francisco would be wise to capitalize on Gore’s understanding of the game and how to maximize a career.

He certainly did so.

In the meantime, there’s no shortage of praise coming in from some of Gore’s former teammates with the Niners over the years.

49ers alumni congratulate Frank Gore on legendary NFL career

Another one of San Francisco’s former players who, along with Gore, helped turn the 49ers into a contender in the early 2010s was linebacker Patrick Willis, and Willis didn’t hesitate to heap some praise upon his former teammate:

One could have made the argument both Gore and Willis were the combined heart and soul of the Niners between 2007 and 2014, helping get San Francisco into three playoffs before Willis ultimately retired in 2015 and Gore moved on to the Indianapolis Colts.

Along the way, Gore also spent time with fellow linebacker Takeo Spikes, who shed his own appreciation of the running back’s efforts, too:

Perhaps the most emotional praise, however, came from quarterback Alex Smith, who found himself taken in the same rookie-year draft class, 2005, as Gore.

Smith, of course, was the No. 1 overall selection in that year’s draft and also saw plenty of the dark days the franchise endured from that season until things finally started to turn around in 2011.

“Hands down, one of the greatest honors of my career was getting to share the backfield with @frankgore for so many years,” Smith posted on his Instagram. “The greatest teammate and competitor. The definition of tough. One of the best to ever do it. Congratulations brother!!”

Adoration all around. And a career that’ll be talked about for generations.

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 best running backs in franchise history. dark