San Francisco 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore is weighing his football future less than a week after returning to the practice field following a two-year struggle with a devastating college knee injury.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Lattimore is going to talk to his family, and the team should know more in the coming days.
“He’s weighing his options,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll have an announcement about that.”
Lattimore, San Francisco’s 2013 fourth-round draft pick, practiced last Wednesday and Thursday but not Friday. He was eligible to return after Week 6.
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He spent his rookie season last year on injured reserve after tearing major ligaments in both knees during college at South Carolina. The serious knee injuries derailed his 2011 and ’12 seasons before the Niners took a chance on him in the draft. He underwent surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2011.
The 23-year-old Lattimore wasn’t around for the 49ers’ 13-10 loss to St. Louis on Sunday. Last week, he expressed how thankful he was to get on the field, calling it “a big moment,” while adding, “It’s a blessing, that’s what it is.”
Lattimore’s agent, Michael Perrett, posted on Twitter on Monday that “no decision has been made on @MarcusLattimore’s future.” Messages left for Lattimore and his family were not returned.
Lattimore shredded his right knee before halftime of a 38-35 win by South Carolina against Tennessee in 2012, the second straight season his year was ended by a serious knee injury. Tennessee players came out as a group while Lattimore was being carted off the field to wish him well and show support.
Harbaugh declined Monday to share anything from his discussions with Lattimore or say how difficult it would be to see Lattimore’s career end after such a rigorous commitment to his rehab. Last Wednesday started the team’s 21-day window to determine whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
After being selected by the 49ers with the 131st pick, Lattimore signed a contract valued at $2,460,584. That included a guaranteed bonus of $300,584 to be paid in $75,146 segments over four years.
He made a base salary of $405,000 as a rookie and $420,000 this season. The contract calls for him to make $585,000 in 2015 and $675,000 in 2016.
Lattimore played in 29 games at South Carolina, rushing for 2,677 yards and a school-record 38 touchdowns. He caught 77 passes for 767 yards and three touchdowns, bringing his touchdown total to a school-record 41.
Lattimore was one of the most decorated prospects in South Carolina high school history while playing at Byrnes High. He rushed for 6,375 yards with 104 touchdowns and was selected to Parade Magazine’s All-American team and was named South Carolina’s Mr. Football.
Speculation of Lattimore’s potential retirement brought reaction from some of his former teammates and coaches.
“To the man who lifted a program to its feet & made everyone around him better as a player & person, I salute you!” former Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw wrote in a Twitter post.
“You can’t put into words what Marcus Lattimore has meant to (the) South Carolina football program,” USC assistant coach Steve Spurrier Jr. added on Twitter.
Last week, Lattimore spoke about the mental trials of his comeback.
“Talk to people,” he said. “Just don’t keep it in when you’re having those bad days. Because I’ve had a lot of bad days when my knee was sore. I have to do a lot of different things. I talk to my girlfriend, I talk to my mom, talk to my sister. Just let them know. That was the biggest thing. And, of course my faith, my faith in the Lord, knowing no matter what happens, if I play another down, everything is in his plan and I trust in his plan.”