Amid an offseason of persistent bad news ranging from Colin Kaepernick facing sexual assault allegations to Aldon Smith’s fake LAX bomb threat arrest, the San Francisco 49ers must be salivating at the news concerning running back Marcus Lattimore.
The 5-foot-11, 221 pound South Carolina alum pronounced himself ready to go for the 2014 season after sitting out all of last year with a knee injury once deemed so severe it dropped what some considered the best back on the board in the 2012 draft all the way down to the fourth round.
As if he needed the added motivation, Lattimore certainly has it now, and soon the rest of the NFL could be paying the price for it.
“After my injury, I just wanted to walk again,” Lattimore told Fansided.com. “It was tough, very tough. We’re a playoff team, 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 in this situation.”
The same almost certainly holds true for 49ers management regarding their offseason troubles, making Lattimore’s emergence all the more critical. In addition, the Niners’ backfield roster currently boasts just Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Jewel Hampton and LaMichael James, who is rumored to be on the trading block.
“If that happens, it does put me in that No. 3 spot,” Lattimore said of the James rumors. “But I’ve just got to go in there and work hard. I can pass-protect and run the ball. I’ve got to show that. Me and Kendall want to have a chance to do that. Go out there and help that team. If we can go and take some pressure off Frank, we can also help Colin move around.”
The 49ers open minicamp on Monday and while Lattimore won’t be as presumptuous as to tell Coach Jim Harbaugh what Harbaugh should do Lattimore is certain of one thing.
“If he wants to put me in, he’ll put me in,” he said of Harbaugh. “If I prove it in practice, I don’t think there’s no excuse why I can’t play. I’m ready.”