Height: 5-9 Weight: 217
Season: 10th College: Miami
Strengths: Gore ranks one of the NFL’s best all-around running backs. He has surpassed 1,000 yards in seven of his nine seasons, including 1,128 last season. He is a solid pass blocker and pass catcher. He has made 331 catches for 2,772 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career. Gore is a tough inside runner and is hard to bring down, with good leg strength and good balance after initial contact. He has great vision. Gore is a chain-mover, having made 55 first downs last season and 444 in his career.
Weaknesses: Gore, 31, isn’t the same runner he used to be. Though he still has bell-cow ability, the 49ers have talked repeatedly about “managing” his workload. Second-round pick Carlos Hyde will spell Gore in an effort to keep Gore strong into the second half of the season. Gore’s carries and average per carry slipped in the last half of the 2013 season, from 146 carries in the first eight games to 130 in the final eight and from a 4.2 yards-per-carry average to 3.9. He never has been a blazer, with 4.66 speed, after tearing the anterior cruciate ligaments in each knee during his college career. He has only one run over 40 yards in the past two years combined. Gore has 23 lost fumbles, including three last season.
Preseason: He played in two preseason games, with only three carries for 10 yards. He did not catch a pass.
Who has to stop him? The Cowboys are starting Rolando McClain at middle linebacker in their base defense to stop the run. McClain has not played football since the 2012 season, twice retiring last year with the Baltimore Ravens. They also will be relying on three-technique Henry Melton, who did not play in the preseason because of knee and groin injuries. Melton played only three games last season with the Chicago Bears before tearing the ACL in his left knee.
Notable: Gore is the 49ers’ all-time leading rusher, with 9,967 yards. He also holds records for attempts (2,187), rushing touchdowns (60) and 100-yard rushing games (35). Gore ranks second in team history in yards from scrimmage with 12,739. Only Jerry Rice (19,872) has more. Gore was a third-round pick, No. 65 overall. He is a five-time Pro Bowler. The 49ers are 36-7-1 when Gore has 20-plus carries and 28-7 when he has 100-plus yards.
— Charean Williams