SANTA CLARA — Frank Gore doesn't see turning 30 as a bad thing, even if it's the age when most NFL running backs start to decline.
If anything, the San Francisco 49ers' career rushing leader has embraced the milestone and sees it as another means of motivation.
“I love it,” Gore said Thursday outside of the 49ers' locker room.
“I feel like every year it's something with me. I have to overcome everything, every year. Now that I'm 30 I just have to keep working and training hard.”
Not that Gore has ever needed extra incentive.
Whether it was being bypassed in the 2005 draft when he was the sixth running back selected or the string of injuries he's endured and overcome since then, Gore has always felt the need to prove
The 49ers clearly know Gore's value and have limited his participation in the offseason workouts, including this week's three-day minicamp.
San Francisco hopes the time off will help keep Gore fresher for the regular season. He's topped 1,000 yards in six of the past seven years, but he's also had a tendency to wear down late in the season.
Since the end of the 2009 season, Gore has failed to record a 100-yard game in the months of November and December. He rebounded to top that mark twice in the playoffs last season, including in the 49ers' Super Bowl loss to Baltimore when Gore ran for 110 yards and a touchdown.
That wasn't enough to silence the critics. And when Gore turned 30 on May 14, the doubts seemed to increase.
Even his spot on a recently released list of the top 100 players in the NFL didn't sit well with the ninth-year veteran. Gore was No. 32.
“They said he's turning 30 and he might not have (any) more left,” Gore said. “I like that type of stuff. Whenever (the 49ers) let me get on the field, I'm going to go hard and prove everybody wrong again.”
Just when Gore will be on the field is the question.