INDIANAPOLIS -- Frank Gore's Instagram post on Sunday night set off a wave of speculation about where the 49ers' all-time leading rusher will end up in 2015. It also a prompted a phone call between Gore and general manager Trent Baalke, who said he spoke to Gore on Monday.
“We reached out. He reached out back," Baalke said Wednesday. "He wasn’t expecting (his post) to take legs like it did. Nor were we. He didn’t have any intentions by it and he made that very clear in our conversations.”
On Sunday, Gore seemed to cast doubts about the team's commitment to him. “I know the fans love me but I need to know if the management does," he wrote on Instagram.
For the first time in his 10-year career, Gore is heading toward free agency. The 49ers have said they'd like him back, and Gore in turn has said he wants to finish his career with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2005. Gore earned $6.5 million in each of the last two seasons, which is high for a running back in his 30s and a figure that Gore, who turns 32 in May, is unlikely to receive from the 49ers or any other team.
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The two sides are not believed to have discussed numbers at this point, but that could change this week in Indianapolis. The 49ers' team president and chief negotiator, Paraag Marathe, is here as is Gore's agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
Baalke reiterated the team's position that it wants Gore back. But he also noted that little has changed since the end of the season.
“It’s at the same place it was the last time we talked,” Baalke said. “We’re still working on it. It’s not something that’s going to get done yesterday. It’ll take some time to resolve. It’s our intention to have Frank back.”
Gore made it clear, both in words and with back-to-back 100-plus yard rushing efforts to end the season, that he still sees himself as a starting running back. The 49ers, meanwhile, have a talented young running back in Carlos Hyde and another, Kendall Hunter, they expect will make a full recovery from last year's ACL tear.
"The last two games of the season, I think you saw what Frank still has left in the tank," Baalke said. "A very good football player. One of the most passionate, if not the most passionate football player I’ve ever been around. So, I still think he’s got it in him. I know that he still believes it ... and we’re going to do what we can to get him back as a 49er.”
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.