Marcus Lattimore is sore. And that's a good thing.
Last year at this time, the 49ers running back would experience soreness in his left leg. But he was hesitant about putting too much strain on his surgically repaired right knee and the muscles in that leg never got a rigorous workout.
Lattimore said that's one of the key differences between May 2013 and now – he feels more balanced. “I think they're pretty much even,” he said of his legs. “Because they both get sore. You know what I'm saying? My hamstring's sore, my quad's sore. Just continue to keep pushing.”
Lattimore has been taking part in the 49ers' ‘football school’ since it began on May 5, and he is eligible at least to be part of the three-day rookie minicamp that begins Friday. Neither session incorporates pads or hitting, and Lattimore still must clear hurdles before declaring himself fully recovered from his ghastly 2012 injury. But the strides he's made are significant.
“I'm not thinking about it,” he said of his knee. “I'm thinking about the play, about what I have to do and my responsibility. So I'm just going – feeling each movement. And I'm enjoying every moment of it. I'm going to go hard because I know it could be my last. I know it could be my last time out there every time I step out there.”
For the last two weeks Lattimore has been practicing alongside perhaps his closest friend from the South Carolina team, receiver Bruce Ellington. Lattimore played a big role in convincing Ellington, who began his college career strictly as a basketball player, to try football. Even when they were seniors in high school, Lattimore told Ellington he'd likely go on to play in the NFL if he chose football.
He was right. “I'll take half of that signing bonus he got,” Lattimore joked this week.
For more on his friendship with Ellington: 49ers rookie WR Bruce Ellington can give teammate Marcus Lattimore an assist for his NFL career