Following a devastating knee injury in 2012 that ended his collegiate career, San Francisco 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore spent his first season in the NFL as a "redshirt" year. While Lattimore has had a long recovery since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft, he has been working hard to get back on the field and is hoping that opportunity will come in 2014.
Lattimore understands that he will have to prove his worth throughout OTAs and the preseason, and he says will be ready when the time comes.
“If [coach Jim Harbaugh] wants to put me in, he’ll put me in,” Lattimore said, via GoGamecocks.com. “If I prove it in practice, I don’t think there’s no excuse why I can’t play. I’m ready.”
Frank Gore is the unquestioned starter in San Francisco, so Lattimore will have to compete with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James (currently on the trade block) for playing time. If James is traded, Lattimore's chances improve, and he believes that he and Hunter would be able to help take some of the load off of Gore's shoulders which would keep the 30-year-old running back fresh throughout the season.
“Me and Kendall want to have a chance to do that,” Lattimore said. “Go out there and help that team. If we can go and take some pressure of Frank, we can also help [Colin Kaepernick] move around.”
Lattimore's long road back to the field will begin this week when he reports to Santa Clara, Calif., for the start of the 49ers offseason workout program.
“After my injury, I just wanted to walk again,” Lattimore said. “It was tough, very tough. We’re a playoff team [in San Francisco], so we play 20-plus games. Being on that sideline, we got so close to the Super Bowl title the last three years. “But I’m blessed to be in this situation. Never would have thought in a million years I’d be in this situation.”