Maiocco: Gore extension is right move for 49ers
Running back Frank Gore is a versatile and talented player.Off the field, he might be the worst player on the 49ers when it comes to hiding his emotions.
Through the first four weeks of training camp, it was easy to tell that something was eating at Gore, the team's resident worrywart.
But Gore was considerably more upbeat on Tuesday as he discussed his contract situation. And the reason soon became apparent. Gore and the 49ers were on the verge of agreeing on a three-year, $21 million contract extension that includes $13.5 million in guaranteed money.
The uncertainty of not having a contract for 2012 was affecting Gore -- off the field -- as the 2011 regular season approached. He said he wanted the new deal so he could concentrate exclusively on football. Gore is expected to officially sign the contract on Wednesday.
And with a deal that runs through the 2014 season, Gore has no reason to be apprehensive about his future for a while.
This is a move that plays well in the 49ers' locker room. The 49ers have drafted three Pro Bowl players in recent seasons. The organization took care of linebacker Patrick Willis and tight end Vernon Davis with lucrative extensions last year.
The 49ers showed this offseason that they were just fine with some roster turnover. They failed to step up to re-sign center David Baas, linebacker Manny Lawson or nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin.
But Gore was not viewed as some disposable part. He epitomizes what the team wants from the other 52 players in the locker room.
"He's a great teammate and a great leader and, obviously, a very crucial part of what we do on offense," 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said.
What makes Gore special is his single-minded drive to be the best all-around running back in the game. He is closing in on the 49ers' all-time rushing record. He has also led the 49ers in receptions during his career.
But Gore is also willing to do the thankless aspects of his job, most notably his role in picking up blitzes as a pass-protector.
"All his teammates notice it and appreciate it," 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said.
And you can be sure that all his teammates noticed the 49ers took care of a player who has done all the right things.
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[ Edited by valrod33 on Aug 31, 2011 at 10:04 AM ]