Frank Gore knows it would be a novelty if he played his entire career with the 49ers. He relishes that prospect.
“You rarely see running backs get to finish their career with the team that drafted them,” Gore said. “Obviously I’m one of them.”
He is now slated to serve a decade in a 49ers jersey after signing a three-year, $21 million contract extension through the 2014 season Wednesday. He was entering the final year of a deal paying him $4.9 million this season.
Only four of the top 25 all-time rushing leaders played for only one franchise: Walter Payton (Chicago Bears, No.2 all-time), Barry Sanders (Detroit Lions, No.3), Jim Brown (Cleveland Browns, No.9) and Tiki Barber (New York Giants, No.22).
Gore does not want to join the modern-day cycle of running backs cast aside by their original teams, and examples he cited were LaDainian Tomlinson, Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson.
Why would Gore, a Florida native and offseason resident, want to stay with a franchise where he’s never enjoyed a winning season?
He responded by first praising the fans’ 100 percent support, then added: “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and his staff, they’re football guys. I have no doubt we can get it done. I know we have talent in that locker room, probably more than any NFL team.”
Gore’s loyalty traces to the 2005 draft, when the 49ers selected him 65th overall. He recited the names of the five running backs drafted ahead of him: Ronnie Brown (second), Cedric Benson (fourth), Cadillac Williams (fifth), J.J. Arrington (44th) and Eric Shelton (54th).
“I told myself when I come in this league, I’m going to show everybody that they passed up the best back,” Gore said. “Look at the career. Look up the numbers. It shows.
“I do carry that chip on my shoulder, and I will continue to carry that on my shoulder.”
Gore has shown no lingering effects of a Nov.29, season-ending hip fracture. After starting the first two exhibition games, he sat out Saturday’s loss to Houston and likely will be idle for tonight’s exhibition finale at San Diego.