Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Gore: Former 49ers’ great says “That’s what I bleed” in reference to his old team

Chandler Wright
Oct 4, 2017 at 9:30 PM--

NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote a series of articles today on former 49ers' running back Frank Gore. Now with the Indianapolis Colts for a third season, Gore says: "That's what I bleed" when he talks about his former team.

During his first year removed from the 49ers' locker room, former 49ers running back Frank Gore was not happy with the organization's choice to basically let him walk in 2015's free agency period. After receiving a 1-year, $4 million offer from the team, Gore signed a 3-year, $15 million contract to play for the Indianapolis Colts.

"I'd been there 10 years," Gore said. "That's what I bleed. I was bitter that first year, but that's the business. That's the business. I did right for that organization. I played hard. What can they say but great things about me? I want to see them do great."

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

But Gore's current motivation goes back much further than two years ago. On the NFL's annual draft day in 2005, a franchise-changing pick was made by former 49ers general manager Scott McCloughan. McCloughan was at former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan's house the night before the draft, when he received a call from an agent who said Gore would like to speak with him.

"I can barely understand him, he's talking so fast," McCloughan said. "He's nervous."

As the anxious Gore speculated his destiny, McCloughan gave Gore an honest-but-hard truth.

"I said, 'I'll be honest with you, Frank," McCloughan said. "I'm always honest with all the players and coaches. I said, 'If you're there – we had the first pick in the third round – I'm going to take you. I can't take you prior to that because of the medical issues.' He said, 'I'm not going to last that long.' And I said, 'Well, I don't know. If you do, I'll take you.'

"Since that day, we've been best friends. He said, 'I respect you and I trust you.' You get Frank's trust, -- a lot of players – you get their trust, you got them. You got them, and they'll do everything for you, and I'll do everything for them."

Since draft day 2005, Gore has managed some amazing feats as an NFL running back. According to Maiocco's earlier post, Gore has the NFL's longest active streak of games started for a running back-starting 96 consecutive games. At 34 years old, McCloughin put it best:

"He's still rolling," McCloughan said.

Gore continues to roll up the NFL leaderboard in rushing yards, too. Currently, Gore ranks eighth all-time. He has 13,256 yards and needs only 428 yards to move past LaDainian Tomlinson for fifth place all-time.

How has Gore done so much in his career? McCloughan describes Gore as intelligent despite his off-field learning disability.

"His intelligence, his instincts for the game are lights out," McCloughan said. "I've been around a lot of really good football players. With him, it's amazing how he picks stuff up so quickly.

"I was like, 'He's smarter than Alex (Smith),' and Alex had a big-time test score. And Alex, of course, is very intelligent, but he (Gore) knew the game, big-time. It was awesome."

The 49ers will see Gore's football acumen on full display Sunday when they visit the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Maiocco's original articles can be found here.

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