Running back Marcus Lattimore had what amounted to a redshirt year for the 49ers in 2013.
Lattimore practiced for a few weeks in December, but was otherwise rehabbing from a major knee injury that ended his final year at South Carolina and left him available for the 49ers to draft in the fourth round. Lattimore reiterated this week that he thought he could have played at the end of the season if the 49ers needed him to play and coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday that Lattimore’s work this season has him heading in the right direction.
“I believe so, yes. I think this has been an outstanding year for Marcus. Tough at times, but I think great things will happen for him,” Harbaugh said, via CSNBayArea.com.
Those feelings could impact the 49ers’ approach to the offseason. If they really feel that Lattimore is ready to step in and have great things happen, Frank Gore’s time in San Francisco could be running short. Gore, who turns 31 in May, is set to make $3.3 million next season and is coming off a postseason that saw him run 48 times for 164 yards. That includes a 39-yard scamper against the Panthers, so the majority of Gore’s work was on the unimpressive side and that could lead to a changing of the guard in the 49er backfield.