San Francisco 49ers

Frank Gore says thanks; will anyone ever wear No. 21 for 49ers?

Frank Gore said goodbye to the 49ers in a statement Monday. Will anyone ever wear No. 21 in San Francisco again?
Frank Gore said goodbye to the 49ers in a statement Monday. Will anyone ever wear No. 21 in San Francisco again? pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Frank Gore plays for the Colts.

Say that sentence 100 times and it still won’t seem right.

The 49ers’ all-time leading rusher signed a three-year deal with Indianapolis last week and today issued a statement thanking the 49ers and their fans for 10 years in the Bay Area.

Gore is one of two active runners -- free agent Steven Jackson is the other -- in the Top 20 of the NFL’s all-time rushing list. If he has another 1,000-yard season, he will be in, at the lowest, 16th place on the list. A very good season could put him in 10th place.

It will be interesting to see if Gore wears No. 21 in Indianapolis or if anyone dons it in San Francisco. Colts cornerback Vontae Davis, the younger brother of 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, rejected Gore’s initial proposition about acquiring the number.

Even if Gore’s number isn’t retired in San Francisco, there are some digits that are off limits. No one was worn No. 97, for instance, since Bryant Young stepped away in 2007 even though Young’s jersey is not one of the 12 that have been retired. (See below)

Gore’s statement:

“As I look forward to an exciting new opportunity, I cannot help but to reminisce about the past 10 years in the Bay Area. I would like to, once again, thank the York family and the 49ers organization for giving me the opportunity to realize my childhood dream of playing in the NFL. I am truly thankful to all of my 49ers teammates, coaches and staff that have helped me reach milestones and strive for greatness over the years. And to my fans: I do not know where to start, there are no words to describe how appreciative I am of the support and encouragement each and every one of you has provided. I will always carry you with me. Thank you for everything.”

49ERS’ RETIRED NUMBERS

8 — QB Steve Young

12 — QB John Brodie

16 — QB Joe Montana

34 — RB Joe Perry

37 — DB Jimmy Johnson

39 — RB Hugh McElhenney

42 — S Ronnie Lott

70 — DT Charlie Krueger

73 — T Leo Nomellini

79 — T Bob St. Clair

80 — WR Jerry Rice

87 — WR Dwight Clark

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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