49ers general manager Trent Baalke says the team wants running back Frank Gore back next season.
Gore, 31, has spent every season in San Francisco since the team selected him in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He is 38 yards from his fourth straight 1,000-yard rushing season.
Baalke was asked if Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium could be Gore’s final home game with the team. Gore will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
“We sure hope not,” Baalke said. “He understands what he means to this organization. He would certainly like to be back, and we would certainly like to have him back. Now, whether we can make that a reality or not, time will tell.”
“He’s still a good football player, and he’s certainly meant a lot to this organization both on and off the field.” Baalke said. “Frank is still one of the best inside runners, in terms of finding creases and setting up his blocks, as there is in the National Football League.
Gore has seven 1,000-yard campaigns in his 10 NFL seasons and has been selected to five Pro Bowls.
The franchise’s all-time leading rusher, he has 962 rushing yards and four touchdowns this season. He said last week that he will sit down with the team and discuss his role.
“My goal was to come in and show I still can do it. That’s my agent’s job. If they want to bring me back, they will. They’ll come to me in a respectful way," he said.
The 49ers are 7-8 and have been eliminated from playoff contention. They host the Cardinals on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.
- Scooby Axson