Marcus Lattimore: Why draft a running back with my knee injuries?

AP

Marcus Lattimore’s college career ended with a terrible knee injury, and his NFL career ended before it began. A fourth-round pick of the 49ers in the 2013 draft, Lattimore never recovered well enough to get on the field.

Now that he’s making peace with the way his career ended, Lattimore admits that he’s surprised the 49ers ever drafted him in the first place. Lattimore figured he was an extreme long shot to ever come back from that extreme injury, and he wonders what the 49ers were thinking when they drafted him.

“I mean, why would you take a running back with two horrible knee injuries?” Lattimore told SB Nation. “I did pretty good, I played good in college, but if I’m a GM I don’t think I would do it.”

Lattimore says that during his time practicing with the 49ers, he always knew that he was nowhere near back to full speed, even as the team encouraged him.

“My running backs coach was like, ‘Good job! Good job!’” he said. “My offensive coordinator — I was catching balls out of the backfield — was like, ‘Man you look good!’ I was like, ‘You have no clue.’”

Eventually the 49ers figured out that Lattimore simply wasn’t going to be the player he once was. Lattimore seemed to know that before the team did.

87 responses to “Marcus Lattimore: Why draft a running back with my knee injuries?

  1. Because they had a bunch of picks that year. 4th rounder is no gimme that they’ll be a stud, so why not take a flyer there on a freak athlete.

  2. Lol and the media was sucking up to the 49ers for a STEAL in the 4th round. All hail SF moves over the last 3-4 years, now return to sub-.500 status lol

  3. I mean, nothing he said was truly inappropriate…but why say it? It was a head-shaker, sure, but the team gave you a shot. Gave you a paycheck. Let you live the dream a little longer.

    It makes Baalke like an idiot, which it he seems he absolutely is on account of this offseason; however, if I’m Marcus, I’m just grateful and my words would reflect that a bit more.

  4. It seams to me like he doubted his own ability to recover, which may have been a self fulfilling prophecy.

  5. Hmm. That’s quite a different tune than he was singing before, when he talked about how “no doubt” he was gonna be ready for the start of the 2013 season.

  6. “I mean, why would you take a running back with two horrible knee injuries?”

    Talk about being thankful some team took a chance on him.

  7. Lattimore seems bitter. I can see his point, though. The 49ers gave him a little hope, but that’s all it ever was. They tried; he tried. It just didn’t work out.

  8. What a punk. Should have been honored that Niners took a chance on him! He should have retired early if he knew he didn’t have it. Chump!

  9. Sometimes a GM will make a great pick even if the prospect does not fully realize just how great of a pick they are at the time. Part of the job is the picking, and the rest is working towards ensuring the picks produce. If you make a pick, then you are guaranteeing (making yourself accountable and answerable) that the pick pans out.

  10. I wondered if he would make it back…that injury was horrific. He might not be walking again if it happened 30 years ago.

  11. Would he have preferred go undrafted and never put on a helmet again?

  12. Marcus is not helping other injured college athletes coming out for a potential career in the NFL with these comments. He probably should not have said anything, I don’t think any GM appreciates to be made to look like a fool for taking a chance on a guy.

  13. well in all honesty they did pretty good with Gore who also had some bad knee injuries while in college.. so why not spend a 4th on the kid and give him a shot.

  14. If I remember correctly the Bills drafted Frank Gore in the first round (I think) after an incredibly gruesome knee injury a few months earlier, and he turned out pretty well….I think the assumption is that most injuries can be recovered from with medicine today…

  15. Baalke has drafter numerous players with major injuries:

    Tank Carradine
    Marcus Lattimore
    Keith Reaser
    Brandon Thomas
    Quinton Dial

    Scot McCloughan hit a home run by drafting Frank Gore so Baalke thinks it will work but red shirting guys really hasn’t worked out at all so far.

  16. I hope during that interview he gave them props for giving him a nice paycheck for a couple of yrs even if he mentally knew he was done…..show some appreciation damn….they way that quote stands by itself sounds as if he is mad they made him try to come back and he would of been content to end his career after not getting drafted…

  17. I love it. Players and coaches defecting that dumpster fire. “Faithful” Niner fans burning #7 jerseys at the end of the season. Harbs talking of writing a book about the dysfunction of the front office and ownership. “Who’s got it better than us!?” I can’t even laugh at you clowns anymore because your situation is so sad.

  18. He’s absolutely right. I have respect that the kid is this honest and intelligent.

    Two horrible knee injuries at a position where his legs are everything? I’m still surprised anyone took him and even more surprised it was in the 4th round.

  19. There are multiple first round picks who are perfectly healthy who don’t do squat in the NFL Drafting is not an exact science.

  20. kamthechancellor says:
    Jul 9, 2015 1:50 PM

    I love it. Players and coaches defecting that dumpster fire. “Faithful” Niner fans burning #7 jerseys at the end of the season. Harbs talking of writing a book about the dysfunction of the front office and ownership. “Who’s got it better than us!?” I can’t even laugh at you clowns anymore because your situation is so sad.

    —————————————————————-

    Should have ran the ball.

  21. Dcviking – you’re thinking of mcgahee but valid point nonetheless. I can understand lattimore being upset with the injury hand he was dealt but he’s doing a disservice to future stud college backs who wouldn’t mind a shot

  22. Sounds like this kid never really believed himself capable of recovering fully.

    If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t go very far. Can’t really fault the 9ers here. I fault his poor attitude more than the franchise itself.

  23. Lattimore is not being ungrateful. He’s just being real. And to be honest it sounds like he’s beginning to build up himself as a scout or other personnel guy with hopes of catching on with a front office somewhere.

  24. Oh 1-2ers you are the biggest bunch of posers, you clowns are so obsessed with the greatness that is the 49ers it’s almost sad.
    #1-2man
    #LODB
    #wilson2butler

  25. Wow. It is so shocking how the wheels came off the once-dominant 49’er juggernaut. They were actually quite close to winning Super Bowls in ’11, ’12 and ’13.

    But age, injuries, internal strife, the rise of the rest of the NFC West, and absolutely abysmal drafts have really hit them hard.

    I find it surprising how they continue to draft Safeties so high in the draft year in and year out. Safeties!

    Eric Reid in 2013 (first round), followed by Jimmie Ward in 2014 (first round), and then Jacquiski Tartt in 2015 (second round).

    That’s crazy.

    The fact they keep targeting the same position over and over is evidence that they keep whiffing with one pick after another.

    Not only that, those are extremely high draft choices to burn on an ever-growing list of Safeties. Two firsts and a second, and what have they got to show for all those premium picks? Answer: not much.

    Those draft choices could have gone in so many other much more productive ways.

    Not long ago, that team looked to be on the brink of another dynasty. Now, not so much. Maybe NFL Films will feature this team some day on an episode of “Missing Rings”.

  26. Frank Gore had bad knees too and he only became the franchise leading rusher. If you ask me his comments seem like he had trouble getting over the mental aspects of the injury rather than the physical. Whether it was fear of getting hurt again or just a realization that the pain wasn’t worth playing. If the coaches were encouraged by what they saw than there should be no reason he couldn’t have rehab and came back. I’m sure Bowman isn’t feeling 100% but he hasn’t retired, at least not yet (can’t be too sure these days).

  27. Thomas Davis had 3 injuries in same knee, he bounced back although not as bad lattimore injuries, but the team stood by him, and td is out there playing good football. Sometimes teams gamble and it pays off

  28. paulieorkid says:
    Jul 9, 2015 2:10 PM

    Wow. It is so shocking how the wheels came off the once-dominant 49’er juggernaut……

    But they got their new stadium in Santa Clara.
    Now they have to fix the sod so more players don’t blow out their knees.

  29. I don’t think this young man realized just how good he was before that injury. That’s why the 49ers took a chance on him.

  30. He foregone his Sr. year in college to enter the draft and it’s the GM’s fault that he got picked in the 4th round?! What a tool. If he didn’t want to play or didn’t feel he was ready, why enter the draft and give SOME team false hope. This guy is a failure.

  31. Can’t blame Lattimore if some team is stupid enough to throw money at him. He tried to make a comeback; he knew it wasn’t working. Not his fault the 49ers thought they were getting a steal.

  32. I am guessing we will hear that he was mis-quoted any minute now, because those statements are just……… off. Voluntarily entering the draft, hiring agents to promote you to teams, and signing the contract all seem to lead to the fact that you wanted to get drafted and try to make a career in the NFL. Heck I even remember a video from before the draft with Lat meeting with his agent and he was letting him know specifically that he will probably not go in the first two days, but by the 4th round teams like the Patriots and 49ers are in play. It was all spelled out for him. Probably mis-quote or taken out of context to make it look like Lat was bashing the 49ers for drafting him.

  33. dacktle49 says:
    Jul 9, 2015 2:09 PM
    Oh 1-2ers you are the biggest bunch of posers, you clowns are so obsessed with the greatness that is the 49ers it’s almost sad.
    #1-2man
    #LODB
    #wilson2butler

    _________________________________

    Remember when Wilson handed it off to Lynch in the Super Bowl to win the game?! Oh, that’s right.

    1-2 in Super Bowls.

    Who’s the 1-2ers now.

  34. When did Santa Clara get a football team? NFL.com and Espn must not have updated theit sites because I can’t find it.

    Oh it must be envious Seahack bandwagoners that are jealous that the San Francisco 49ers play in a metropolis like the Bay Area and not some PODUNK town like Seattle.

  35. poweri26 says:
    Jul 9, 2015 1:48 PM
    Baalke has drafter numerous players with major injuries:

    Tank Carradine
    Marcus Lattimore
    Keith Reaser
    Brandon Thomas
    Quinton Dial

    Scot McCloughan hit a home run by drafting Frank Gore so Baalke thinks it will work but red shirting guys really hasn’t worked out at all so far.
    ———————-
    Tank Carradine-limited number of snaps played well-3 sacks
    Lattimore-bust
    Reaser-by all accounts he’s been fantastic in mini camp
    Thomas-hasn’t started yet, tbd
    Dial-played very well..

    So far the gamble has payed off..it’s very possible 4 out of 5 of them become starters..

  36. I find it surprising how they continue to draft Safeties so high in the draft year in and year out. Safeties!

    Eric Reid in 2013 (first round), followed by Jimmie Ward in 2014 (first round), and then Jacquiski Tartt in 2015 (second round).

    ———————

    So you think they whiffed on Eric Reid? He was a pro-bowler his rookie year and started virtually every game in one of the league’s best secondaries.

    Jimmie Ward was drafted for his ball hawking and to start as nickel, jury still out on him. Tartt was beastly in a small school and drafted to replace Bathea who is getting up there in age.

  37. Remember when Colin Kaepernick said he’d throw to Crabtree every time…and he did? LOL

  38. Dang, if no other reason then to just give you Seahawk fans some trolling cred Pete really should have run the ball.

    Tough break guys, it took 20 years for Boston to forgive and welcome back Bill Buckner so maybe in 20 years or so someone will say ‘they should have run the ball’ and not everyone will know what that means. Doubt it though.

  39. Hey 1-2er do you remember when you became a Seahawk fan 3 years ago? And remember when your team lost its second Super Bowl ?

  40. Actually, I understand the call as well as what really went wrong with the play, so I’m ok with it. SC-trolls have nothing other than glomming on to some other team’s success over Seattle, though.

  41. jonathankrobinson424 says:
    Jul 9, 2015 1:32 PM

    ….well, at least you can say you got drafted by a NFL team. I bet Kurt Warner would have loved to hear his named called……

    —–Yeah, I’m sure Kurt is wishing he could trade spots with Lattimore just so he could have heard his name called at the draft. Somehow, I think Kurt’s probably just fine with his career.

  42. Could just be because the last time they took a RB with two beat up knees and lot’s of potential…. It was Frank Gore

  43. dacktle49 says:Jul 9, 2015 3:07 PM

    Hey 1-2er do you remember when you became a Seahawk fan 3 years ago? And remember when your team lost its second Super Bowl ?
    ————————————-

    This comment makes me chuckle from a 49er fan. I grew up in California and I didn’t know a single 49er fan until around January 1992. They came out of the woodwork. Bandwagon fans are good for the franchise though. Gets you new shiny stadiums built.

  44. kamthechancellor says:
    Jul 9, 2015 1:50 PM
    I love it. Players and coaches defecting that dumpster fire. “Faithful” Niner fans burning #7 jerseys at the end of the season. Harbs talking of writing a book about the dysfunction of the front office and ownership. “Who’s got it better than us!?” I can’t even laugh at you clowns anymore because your situation is so sad.

    ——-

    How’s it going 1-2 fan?

  45. I can’t understand or respect people who call themselves football fans and take joy in watching a promising talent wiped out over injuries beyond his control. Disgraceful.

  46. The draft is a crap shoot to begin with. Every year some 1st and 2nd rounders bust or get injured. Look at the Jags choice Dante Fowler Jr. he got injured for the whole year at OTAs where there is no hitting or pads and no one touched him. Don’t get me started on all world Jadaveon Clowney the year before.
    I’m not mad they took a lower round draft choice flyer on a guy that looked like he could have all pro potential if he healed. Sorry it didn’t work out.

  47. Anyone with a brain and the ability to look at an MRI knew the kid was never playing football again. He knew, his doctors knew. Who knows what SF was thinking drafting a kid in the 4th that wasn’t going to be drafted at all by anyone else. Balke and York are an odd bunch. They must like to split a pair of fives in blackjack too.

  48. This site, like so many, seems more like a forum for character assassination every day. Give the 49rs credit for giving the guy a chance. Give Lattimore credit for trying. That said, Lattimore seems to have never recovered from what he refers to as two “horrible” knee injuries. I hope he does well moving forward in life.

  49. By drafting him, they probably screwed up his insurance policy against injury and cost him more than he would have ever made. What a pity.

  50. @ronfai says:
    Jul 9, 2015 2:47 PM
    I find it surprising how they continue to draft Safeties so high in the draft year in and year out. Safeties!

    Eric Reid in 2013 (first round), followed by Jimmie Ward in 2014 (first round), and then Jacquiski Tartt in 2015 (second round).

    ———————

    So you think they whiffed on Eric Reid? He was a pro-bowler his rookie year and started virtually every game in one of the league’s best secondaries.

    Jimmie Ward was drafted for his ball hawking and to start as nickel, jury still out on him. Tartt was beastly in a small school and drafted to replace Bathea who is getting up there in age.

    ———————

    So you think using First Round picks in back-to-back years on Free Safeties is a good thing? If my Steelers burn a First on a player targeted as a Nickel, I’d be bent. Three premium draft choices on Safeties and Nickels — is not good value. If you think it is, I want you in my FF league immediately.

  51. Lattimore is speaking form his POV and that’s all we can take this as. He did have two rather horrendous knee injuries and that last one looked to be extremely painful. Had this of been 10 or 20 years ago, what he is saying would be valid. Too many runners were bitten by the ACL. Ki Jana Carter is one of them and TD is another one.

    I hope he finds a fulfilling career. I couldn’t even imagine what he went through pulling the plug. To end something you spent your life attempting, it would be devastating.

  52. The Santa Clara 49ers where players go to retire. That fan base will be jumping ship by week three. Remember faithful. “Trust in Baalke”

  53. When did Santa Clara get a football team? NFL.com and Espn must not have updated theit sites because I can’t find it.

    Oh it must be envious Seahack bandwagoners that are jealous that the San Francisco 49ers play in a metropolis like the Bay Area and not some PODUNK town like Seattle
    ————————-
    No the reason for calling them the Santa Clara 49ers is because that is where they now play their home games….

    Another Santa Clara fan in denial…..

    Best Regards

  54. No the reason for calling them the Santa Clara 49ers is because that is where they now play their home games….

    Another Santa Clara fan in denial…..
    ——————————————————————
    Do you call them the New Jersey Giants/Jets ? Or Arlington Cowboys?
    It’s true SF isn’t a podunk town like Cleveland, St. Louis or Seattle where the taxpayers will willingly fork out millions just to get some action downtown. Santa Clara isn’t ideal choice but as the LA Raiders fans can soon attest to, we get what we can out here in CA where land is in real demand.

  55. I tip my hat to the 49ers for it. They gave him the opportunity to be a pro player, make some nice money and retire with benefits. Why question it? Appreciate it. You never know what sympathies are in people.

  56. Why draft a running back with my injuries?

    Because they had faith that you would put in the work to get back to where you were.

    Lattimore was scared to get hurt again. End of story.

  57. I might have a deep rooted sports “hatred” for the 49ers but I really wish this kid had made it. I can’t imagine the mental stress this could have on a young person so deeply talented.

    No idea what he wants to do for his life but wouldn’t it be great if he were able to take his considerable athletic intelligence and translate it to the coaching or F.O. role? It might not be his desire but if it is, it would make for a really inspirational story.

  58. Lattimore is making a great point. The medical report I remember they said his knee looked like “chopped meat” yeah that’s not healing unless a.miracle happens

  59. I saw some Uncle Rico looking whiner fan with a Borland Jersey the other day. I asked him what he thought of his reasons for retirement. HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THE GUY RETIRED! You scrubs are the most clueless, classless, buffoon fanbase there is.

  60. RegisHawk says:
    Jul 9, 2015 3:14 PM

    Actually, I understand the call as well as what really went wrong with the play, so I’m ok with it. SC-trolls have nothing other than glomming on to some other team’s success over Seattle, though.

    ____________________________

    Have to disagree to the notion that anyone is glomming onto another teams success on this one.

    The fact the Patriots were the opposing team is really just a footnote, it is the fail of epic proportions that defines the storyline for the Super Bowl.

    Long after people forget the Patriots won the game the Jean Van De Velde like fail by the Seahawks will still be being discussed.

    Do you remember who won the British Open that Van De Velde threw away? I don’t, but I can sure remember watching it happen like it was yesterday. Trying to hit out of the creek in bare feet with his pants rolled up rather than taking a drop, unbelievable.

    Pete Carroll == Jean Van De Velde == Roy Munson

  61. That’s funny kam, I ask a handful of 1-2’s every year when their team visits the beautiful Bay Area to name three players on the Super Bowl squad that played the Steelers and guess what? Year after year I might get a Matt Hasselback and very rarely a Shaun Alexander or two but that’s about it. The Seaadderall fan base is by far the biggest bunch of Bandwagon front runners in the history of professional sports.

  62. LOL…yeah, Harbaugh is something to be proud of…the guy’s probably chugging a bottle of ritalin while you read this.

    As for the bandwagons, the Clarinettes’ appears to be loaded down with a bunch of millenials whose only claim to fame is they were conceived the last time the 49ers won a SB. Hope they filmed grandpa’s recount of the actual events, now that most of his teeth are gone, you won’t be able to get the story out of him with any coherence.

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