When running back Marcus Lattimore injured his knee at South Carolina in 2012, there was some doubt about whether he’d recover enough to play in the NFL at all.
Lattimore wound up sitting out his entire rookie season as he recovered, but has returned to the field this offseason and drawn compliments from the team’s coaching staff on the progress he’s shown over the last few months. That would seem to put Lattimore in position to gain some playing time behind Frank Gore in 2014, but Lattimore is aiming a bit higher.
“I’m trying to take [Gore's] job, but I know that’s going to be the hardest thing in the world,” Lattimore said, via USA Today.
That might be a bit too much for Lattimore to bite off right now, even if the team didn’t also have Kendall Hunter and Carlos Hyde looking for carries in a deep San Francisco backfield. For now, Lattimore is learning the offense and waiting for training camp and preseason to start to see how he does while taking hits on a knee that hasn’t been pushed to those limits in nearly two years.
If he handles that without trouble and then shows he can be a productive back in the regular season, Lattimore can truly set his sights on a starting job. After coming back from such a serious knee injury, it would be hard to bet against him.