Jan/30/13 11:04 PM Filed in: Frank Gore
NEW ORLEANS: Frank Gore unwittingly played a role in the Super Bowl host city's most recent football scandal.
It was Gore's head that former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams called for in a pregame speech before a 2011 playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. Audio of that locker room speech contributed to the league's decision to indefinitely suspend Williams from coaching and ban head coach Sean Payton for a year as punishment for a bounty program.
"Yeah, I heard it," Gore said Wednesday. "Kill the head, the body will die."
The comments didn't particularly bother Gore. If anything, he found Williams' intent flattering.
"He was probably just trying to pump his guys up. That's football," Gore said. "That's respect. He respected me."
Gore's 49ers beat the Saints in that divisional round playoff game but lost in the NFC title game the next week. A year later, Gore was a major reason the 49ers were able to win the conference title to advance here to the Super Bowl in New Orleans. He rushed for 209 yards and three touchdowns in San Francisco's two playoff wins.
Despite an eight-year NFL career, six 1,000-yard seasons and four Pro Bowls, Gore might be the most unassuming star of Super Bowl week.
Gore, 29, speaks so softly that one must lean in close to listen to him, a demeanor that belies his brash, physical running style. Gore prides himself nearly as much in his ability to block against linebackers and safeties as he does rushing for touchdowns.
"With me, I feel like a lot of guys don't like doing it. If you want to be a complete player, if you do that, you get recognized," Gore said.
Gore has a fan in Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard, who was on the receiving end of one of Gore's blocks when their teams played on Thanksgiving in 2011. Pollard laughed this week when reminded of Gore's punishing hit.
"I thought he was going to cut me, and he came and got me right under my chin. A lot of my family let me have it, they said he gave me the Sweet Chin Music," Pollard said, referencing the signature pro wrestling move of Shawn Michaels.