Frank Gore believes 49ers' new offense could delay aging process

Frank Gore doesn't feel old, but he was reminded of his advancing years during the offseason.

The 49ers running back has worked out at the same training facility in Miami for years alongside recently retired running back Fred Taylor, 35, and other NFL players.

This past offseason, Taylor was gone, but Gore's group included Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew, Detroit's Kevin Smith, Chicago's Matt Forte and even Kendall Hunter, who was training for the NFL combine.

At one point, Gore realized that, at 28, he was the oldest athlete around.

"Since Fred was gone the trainer wanted me to demonstrate everything," Gore said. "I said, 'Man, you're treating me like I'm Fred T.'"

Gore may be getting up there -- NFL backs age in dog years -- but as he noted in this article, he believes a creative offense will take defenses' focus off him and add years to his career.

Gore didn't directly slam any of his past coaches in the story (he did admit the brief Jim Hostler era was "tough"), but his praise of Jim Harbaugh also served as an indictment of past offensive regimes.

"We've got all the talent," Gore said. "And I think we have the right coaches now who can use all the talent ... Now I can see myself playing this last contract out just because of how they get the ball to everybody. People won't be able to just come in here and be like, 'They're running power.'"

It remains to be seen if Gore's high hopes for the new West Coast offense will be realized. But, let's face it, the bar is low.

Last year, the Niners' first offensive play in their opening five games was a run to Gore, generally up the middle. In a Week 5 loss to the Eagles, Gore ran on their first eight first-down plays.

Those days are over, Gore believes.

"We have great coaches," he said. "We have a great staff. They see what we have in the locker room and I think they're going to use it the best of their ability ... Everyone is just believing in the coaches and seeing the difference. Just seeing everyone sitting down and talking football with the coaches. They know what they're doing. Coach Harbaugh and his coaches are good."

More from Gore:
* Gore said there's only one running back he's excited about watching on film: LaDainian Tomlinson.

Gore brought up L.T. when asked about hearing whispers that, as a 28-year-old running back coming off a hairline hip fracture, he's on the downside of his career.

"Everybody has to go through that," Gore said. "One of the best backs in this league, who I think can still play, is LaDainian Tomlinson. That's just the position I play. I don't even think San Diego should have gotten rid of L.T. He's still got gas in the tank to me. I feel like if he was in New York as the only back, he would still be up there with the best NFL backs. That's how much I respect L.T."

During the course of a nearly 30-minute interview, Gore was perhaps at his most animated when he described a favorite Tomlinson run he was able to replicate.

"It was a game against the Rams," Gore said. "It was a power to the right and he got through the hole and stiff-armed a safety, No. 21, and scored a touchdown. A week later, I think, I kind of did the same thing and ran over 21, too."

* Before he signed his contract extension, Gore said there were moments where he imagined signing with a more successful franchise if he became a free agent after the 2011 season. But he was quick to say how happy he was to stay in San Francisco.

He said his teammates are the main reason he wants to retire with the 49ers.

"I see that we've got talent here and it's a great group of guys in that locker room," he said. "I hear a lot of stuff going on in different locker rooms about different player that don't like each other, and it's not like that here. It's like a family. We're all grown men, but when we're together we're like kids. And football is supposed to be fun, and I think when all of us are together, we make it fun. I love my team. I love my teammates here. I'm happy to have the opportunity to be here for 10, 11 years."

* Gore, who has watched the NFL playoffs at home after the first six seasons of his career, said the Seahawks' wild-card win over the Saints last year was the most painful postseason game he's watched.

"I'm not going to lie. I hated watching Seattle win that game," he said. "Oh, man, I hated that. That was supposed to be us."

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