San Francisco 49ers

Frank assessment: New 49ers RB issued No. 21 but won’t wear it

Frank Gore will hit the free-agent market next week. He wants to play for a contender.
Frank Gore will hit the free-agent market next week. He wants to play for a contender. The Bee

Over six NFL seasons, Tim Hightower built a reputation as a good "locker-room guy." It turns out the new 49ers running back is a good "equipment-room guy," too.

Hightower, 30, arrived for the start of the offseason program Monday to find he had been issued No. 21, which as every devout 49ers fan knows, was the number Frank Gore wore for 10 seasons in San Francisco.

Hightower, however, indicated he soon would have a new jersey, which later in the day was revealed to be No. 26.

He posted on Instagram a picture of himself in front of his new locker -- which contains his number -- and added hash tags "#numbertheygaveme" "#willbechanged" and "#numbershouldberetired"

The post drew more than 1,000 "likes" and a round of praise from fans.

The 49ers have retired 12 jerseys while a few others -- Bryant Young's No.97 and Patrick Willis' No. 52, for example -- haven't been issued since those players wore them. Gore's number may end up with the same honor. The 49ers hired a new equipment manager earlier this year.

Currently with the Indianapolis Colts, Gore set the 49ers' franchise record for total rushing yards and currently ranks eighth all time with 13,065 yards, the most for an active runner. With 1,000 yards in 2017, Gore would jump to fifth all time behind Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin.

Hightower’s new number, 26, was most recently worn by cornerback Tramaine Brock, who was released last week after a domestic violence arrest in Santa Clara.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

  Comments