SANTA CLARA — Frank Gore got mad at the television last week at the 49ers' team hotel. Replays of Super Bowl XLVII appeared, and Gore's anger returned over a lost Lombardi Trophy.
The next day, after his first practice of training camp, Gore adamantly staked his claim for 2013.
"I respect all my guys here. I'm glad they push me," Gore began. "But I'm being real: I train like I still want to be The Man. I really do. I'm not ready to pass the baton yet."
Overshadowed by the emergence of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Gore isn't about to minimize his impact on another possible Super Bowl run. Nor is he giving up the copyright to run behind an elite offensive line.
"That's what makes him great," right tackle Anthony Davis said. "If you look at him on the field, he looks like a rookie. Coaches have to pull him out of drills. He's trying to impress himself."
Eight years after arriving as a third-round gamble with surgically repaired knees, Gore's passion for football burns like an eternal flame inside his 5-foot-9 cauldron.
His constant search for validation could stop easily at the 49ers' record book, where he holds all major rushing records: 8,839 yards, 1,911 carries and 51 touchdowns.
But Gore knows how 30-year-old tailbacks are viewed.
"People like to say what happens at 30," Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk said. "He'll find out. It has nothing to do with skills. It's the nature of the position. A boxer can take only so many punches, a tire has only so much tread. It's about being prepared for it."
Outside of conditioning in the 49ers offseason program — an undisclosed injury kept him out of team drills — Gore also worked out in his native south Florida with personal trainers, including Pete Bommarito and Terek Maddox.
Bommarito confirmed that Gore was "obviously distraught" about the 49ers' Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens. "He's the type of guy where losing destroys him," said Bommarito, who's trained Gore since he came out of the University of Miami in 2005.
By training with nearly 15 other backs at Bommarito Performance Systems, Gore said he got to "compare myself to what they're doing, see if I'm as quick or quicker."
What was the verdict?
"I'm doing a great job," Gore said with a laugh.
"It's his neurotic attention to every single drill we do," Bommarito added. "He approaches everything like it's the last play of the Super Bowl."
Oh yes, the Super Bowl. Gore wasn't thrilled to see it Wednesday night on NFL Network.
"You look at it and you get angry, especially when you feel like you were the better team," Gore said. "As long as we keep that bitter taste in our mouth and keep working, hopefully we get back and win it this time."
Gore nearly won it for the 49ers last time, only to see the Ravens escape with a 34-31 win.
His 33-yard run out of the pistol formation put the 49ers at the Ravens' 7-yard line with 2:31 remaining. It was his final carry of the season. The only man between him and a Super Bowl-winning, legacy-defining touchdown was linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who ran Gore out of bounds.