Gore had to reapply for the job entering 2014, however.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday on NFL Total Access that the 49ers were "upfront" about the possibility they would cut Gore. Said Rapoport:
"I'm told members of the front office actually approached Frank Gore this offseason and told him very simply this: 'You're 31 years old; you're set to make more than $6 million with incentives; and we may have actually drafted your replacement in Carlos Hyde with the 57th overall pick. Your roster spot is certainly in jeopardy.' "
Gore responded to the challenge by sustaining his excellent level of play. Entering Monday night's matchup against the St. Louis Rams, Gore has 77 carries for 365 yards and a touchdown. His 4.7 yards per carry average is the third-highest mark of his career since becoming a regular starter in 2006.
Hyde, by comparison, has 34 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns. LaMichael James was released in early September, and Marcus Lattimore is on the team's non-football injury list. The Niners backfield remains property of The Inconvenient Truth, at least until he becomes a free agent after this season.
UPDATE: Niners general manager Trent Baalke told the Bay Area News Group there is "no truth" to Rapoport's report the team approached Gore to tell him his roster spot was in jeopardy.