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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lattimore done with redshirt, ready to reward 49ers' faith

By on 1/23/2014 02:59:00 PM

Marcus Lattimore knew he wasn't going to play in 2013, so he didn't even push the issue.

That didn't mean that he felt he couldn't.

Lattimore was selected in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers despite suffering  a severe injury to his right knee in a game against Tennessee, tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL - so devastating and complete were the tears that his knee also dislocated.

But that didn't deter 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh from taking a flyer on a kid that tore up the SEC as a freshman at South Carolina and improved each season, citing form over function and gaining style points for his hard-nosed running style - kind of like some dude named Frank Gore...

“Mentally was the biggest thing for me, understanding the offense,” Lattimore told of how Gore, the depth in the backfield and coach Tom Rathman helped him in his quest. “They showed me how to play the game, honestly. I’m real excited about next year.”

And now with his redshirt year coming to a close, Lattimore is remaining patient and working on the 49ers' agenda, not his own, even though he felt that he could have come off the team's non-football injury list and contributed - but his time with the team has been beneficial to his psyche and in the way that it has prepared him for his career in the NFL.

He also knows that the team is counting on his development and have big plans for him - figuring out early what it's going to take to find playing time once he does get into action.  “If you can’t protect the quarterback, you can’t play.”

Harbaugh thinks he's ready to do just that.  “I think this has been an outstanding year for Marcus. Tough at times, but I think great things will happen for him.”

Lattimore thinks so as well.

“Coach Harbaugh puts you in the mindset of when you were younger and you had so much fun playing the game. That’s how we play here. We have so much fun when we play. That’s what people tend to forget when they get into the NFL."


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