Months and months of rehab are complete. The gruesome knee injury suffered at South Carolina has receded into the past. After the NFL equivalent of a redshirt season with the San Francisco 49ers, Lattimore is ready to make his proper professional debut.
That journey begins Monday when the Niners open their offseason conditioning program. Lattimore will have no restrictions -- he's finally on even footing with the rest of his teammates.
"But I'm blessed to be in this situation. Never would have thought in a million years I'd be in this situation."
"If that happens, it does put me in that No. 3 spot," Lattimore said of a possible James trade. "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."
He added: "If I prove it in practice, I don't think there's no excuse why I can't play. I'm ready."
Gore has made a career of outlasting pretenders to the throne in San Francisco's backfield, but he can't go on forever. Once one of the nation's top collegiate tailbacks, Lattimore should get his chance to show if he still has it.