COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore signed a four-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers on Friday. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
The second of the 49ers’ two fourth-round draft picks, Lattimore is feeling stronger each day as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.
Lattimore spoke to The Associated Press by phone about his rehab and said the most difficult part has been doctors and trainers slowing him down from overdoing things.
Lattimore still believes he can be ready to play this fall, but is content to follow doctors’ orders.
“I just want to train as hard as I can,” Lattimore said. “But I understand why they want me to slow down.”
Lattimore overcame a torn ACL as a sophomore to return to the field last season. His college career, though, ended for good against Tennessee last October when Lattimore dislocated his right knee and tore three ligaments.
He had surgery a month later and declared for the NFL draft in December.
He trained in Florida for several months for the NFL scouting combine and South Carolina’s pro day.
Lattimore’s future was one of the most discussed topics prior to the draft, several analysts wondering if he’d get picked at all and have to sign as a free again.
Lattimore said the work he put in was rewarded when the 49ers drafted him in April.
“It was one of the happiest moments of my life,” he said. Lattimore finished his college career as South Carolina’s career leader with 38 rushing touchdowns.
Lattimore understands the importance of routine doctor visits, too. He said partnered with First Choice by Select Health of South Carolina to encourage teens and young people on regular medical visits, even without serious issues like Lattimore has had during his college career.
He said the relationships he built with family doctors as a child helped trust their guidance these past two year when he worried about his future.