49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman wants to be a coach one day soon, and he already knows at least one person he’d hire on his staff.
Try running back Frank Gore.
“I always tell Frank, ‘Man, when you’re done playing, come find me or I’ll find you,’” Roman said Thursday. “Because he’s a guy I love working with as a player, and I’m sure I’d love working with as a coach.”
Often underappreciated and overlooked around the NFL, Gore has carried the 49ers through good times and mostly bad the last eight seasons. Coaches are quick to credit the reliable running back’s smarts and savvy, doing everything from breaking down film of opponents to scouting potential draft picks.
Gore’s latest adaptation has come in the new read-option run game anchored by quarterback Colin Kaepernick that some thought might not suit his style. Instead, Gore surpassed 100 yards rushing in a playoff game for the first time in last week’s 45-31 win over Green Bay, and the 49ers insist his knowledge is a vital part of the plan heading into Sunday’s NFC championship at Atlanta.
“It’s top shelf,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of Gore’s football acumen. “Not to categorize it, but I know I have learned a lot from Frank, as well as the other running backs on our team. He sees it. He sees the big picture.”
Gore is the franchise leader in yards rushing (8,839) and touchdowns rushing (51) and has been a staple of San Francisco’s offense under three different head coaches. His versatility is what makes him special, coaches said, running inside and out and catching passes from all kinds of formations.
“Frank is such an adaptable player that it doesn’t take him long to pick something up,” Roman said. “He’s one of the most gifted, knowledgeable, intelligent football players that I’ve been around really at any position.”