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LaMichael James wants to be more than a kick returner

LaMichael James AP

Part of the reason that running back LaMichael James missed the first month of 49ers offseason workouts this year was because he became a father for the first time, but there were also football reasons for his absence.

James admits to frustration about his role on the team, which has largely been limited to returning kicks and punts over his first two seasons. James said he’s happy to keep returning kicks and wants to be one of the league’s best in those roles, but that he also wants a chance to earn a bigger profile on offense.

“It’s nothing against our running backs,” James said, via CSNBayArea.com. “I think Frank [Gore’s} the best, and I think Kendall [Hunter] is super-good, too. It’s nothing against them. But with that being said, am I supposed to be happy just returning kicks and catching punts? No, not really. I’m a competitor. I want to go out and compete. Whatever it is, catching some passes, whatever. I want to play running back, too. I feel I can do it at the highest level. That’s the only thing that frustrates me.”

Gore, Hunter and James are joined by Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore in a crowded San Francisco backfield, so James’ attempt for more playing time may be a long shot. He says he won’t pout if he’s given the chance and beaten out by other players, although it’s hard to feel that he won’t feel the desire to try his luck with another team given the 49ers’ reticence about expanding his portfolio.

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19 Responses to “LaMichael James wants to be more than a kick returner”
  1. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 12, 2014 1:41 PM

    Hard to figure out. The 9ers have used a high draft pick four years in a row at the position. They will just end up drafting and developing these guys for another team.

  2. cruelintentions662 says: Jun 12, 2014 1:47 PM

    Good luck with that LaMichael James!

  3. harshedmellow says: Jun 12, 2014 1:50 PM

    As a Duck, it’s hard to see him not playing. He was spectacular in college. This is a very talented, experienced back. That said, sports are a meritocracy, and he has to win the job.

    He’s had a couple really crucial fumbles. That doesn’t help his cause.

  4. raiderrob21 says: Jun 12, 2014 1:51 PM

    A wasted 2nd rd pick by Harblow and Balkee

  5. gawdyourteamsucks says: Jun 12, 2014 1:55 PM

    Shouldn’t have fumbled in the SB bud

  6. andyreidsskinnyjeans says: Jun 12, 2014 2:04 PM

    I have no idea what niners will so. Anyone of these players on the practice squad will be picked up by other team in about 2.5 secs as they are all starter quality.

  7. politicallyincorrect says: Jun 12, 2014 2:07 PM

    never thought much of LMJ… or pretty much anyone from Oregon for that matter

  8. chinahand11 says: Jun 12, 2014 2:09 PM

    James will be cut or traded. Look at that RB stable of the Niners. Run all day.

  9. smackingfools says: Jun 12, 2014 2:10 PM

    I wouldn’t count out Lattimore. The kid can play.

  10. logicalvoicescowboybrother says: Jun 12, 2014 2:21 PM

    He will not be at San Fran when the season starts. Cut or traded

  11. politicallyincorrect says: Jun 12, 2014 2:47 PM

    re: SF

    like/respect Gore
    really looking/hoping that Lattimore regains form and takes over

  12. jvibottomline says: Jun 12, 2014 2:48 PM

    This is Frank Gores last year with the 49ers, might not even survive this training camp. Hyde and Lattimore going forward.

  13. 209erfan says: Jun 12, 2014 3:07 PM

    Complaining to the media isnt goin to get you more carries Lamicheal … the 49ers are a equal opprotunity organization… and they will give you every chance to earn playing time but you have to prove it to them in training camp and practice… so it might be time to step your game up cause theirs alot of competition out there this year

  14. boltjolt says: Jun 12, 2014 3:38 PM

    I’d be happy to have James on our team.

  15. tennesseetitan78 says: Jun 12, 2014 3:59 PM

    The way it’s looking u will b lucky to make the 53 man roster. I’ll shut up if I were u. It might come down to u or Lattimore.

  16. juliusanonymous says: Jun 12, 2014 4:42 PM

    Mediocre.

  17. footballchick29 says: Jun 12, 2014 7:13 PM

    Check your facts. He did not become a father for the first time, he has multiple children.

  18. 49erlifer says: Jun 14, 2014 1:29 AM

    Well you will be doing it elsewhere fumbles! Bad pick Baalke!

  19. paythevig says: Jun 16, 2014 3:02 PM

    Flashback January 2012:

    Kyle Williams muffs the second punt, and the Giants beat the 49ers and advance to the Super Bowl, ending a Cinderella season for the ALEX SMITH-led 49ers.

    James was drafted in the ensuing off-season to add a new dimention of speed to an offense lacking burst. The very same reason the 49ers selected AJ *shudders* Jenkings. Lacking Burst (or Bust).

    With an unknown player in Kaepernick on the bench, and the niners fresh off a NFC Championship loss, it seems like james and jenkins were brought in to add speed and dynamic ability to the team. Also, I’m pretty sure that the team asked the annual question: is this Gore’s last season? Having an Alex Smith-led team, with Kaep learning: Kendal Hunter and James were likely anticipated to lead the backfield.

    When Kaepernick came in, he enanbled the gameplan to change focus; while still being a power running team, James has not developed into a pass protecter, and Hunter proves to be a great change of pace from Gore.

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