San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick adamantly defended his right to wear a Dolphins hat a week ago. Now, starting running back Frank Gore is in Miami, personally helping the team's running back improve.
During a period of six weeks usually reserved for NFL vacations -- and legal problems -- Gore is doing two-a-days with Lamar Miller and reports indicate the 22-year-old Dolphins running back is benefiting significantly.
"It has been great working with Frank, and it is going to help me in my game," Miller told the Miami Herald. "He has given me a lot of tips."
Miller reportedly joined Gore's offseason regimen at the advice of shared agent Drew Rosenhaus. Now, they are spending mornings working out with a group of players before splintering off to work with a trainer in the evenings.
Miller, who in one fewer season came up 57 yards and two touchdowns short of Gore's impressive Miami numbers, grew up less than 15 minutes from the man he idolized through college.
"I used to look up to all the UM running backs growing up because that’s where I wanted to go," Miller said. "I want to keep the legacy of the University of Miami going."
Former Hurricanes have a history of training together, and Gore and Miller's partnership hasn't gone unnoticed.
"The way Lamar is learning from Frank, it’s a beautiful thing," said Steelers' Sean Spence, who played two seasons at Miami with Miller.
Those who have trained Miller, according to the Herald, cite his improved "work ethic and mentality," say "his footwork got a lot better," and indicate he now knows "how to take care of his body (and) what to do beyond what is required."
The developed characteristics are all hallmarks of Gore's successful eight-year NFL career, in which he has averaged 4.6 yards per carry and over six touchdowns a season.
Miller is hoping the hard work will help him sustain his rookie success; he earned an average of 4.9 yards over 51 carries last year.
"I’ve gotten quicker doing lateral work," Miller was quoted. "And I’ve become more explosive by training every day doing squats on my legs. I’m stronger."
But his strength isn't what's turning heads in Florida -- it's his speed.
The list of accomplished backs produced by Miami is impressive, boasting the likes of Edgerrin James ('96-'98), Clinton Portis ('99-'01), Willis McGahee ('01-'02) and Gore ('01-'04). But the 49ers' 30-year-old feature back reserved the highest praise for Miller.
"Lamar is probably the fastest," Gore said. "And he’s a good kid. We motivate each other.”
As long as it's a two-way street, and 49ers fans don't feel like their players are offering unreciprocated support, there shouldn't be a problem -- especially when you consider all the other ways Gore could be spending his six weeks off before the team convenes in Santa Clara for training camp on July 24.