SANTA CLARA (AP) — 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 knee injury from college.
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, we’ll have an announcement about that,” Harbaugh said.
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.
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 anyway. He underwent surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2011.
The 23-year-old Lattimore wasn’t around for Sunday’s 13-10 loss to St. Louis. Last week, he expressed how thankful he was to finally 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 Perrett and Lattimore weren’t immediately returned.
Lattimore hurt his right knee just 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 that afternoon 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.
In interesting timing, San Francisco announced it had re-signed running back Kendall Hunter to a one-year contract extension through the 2015 season. He is out for the season after tearing his right ACL in training camp.
The 49ers coach was still trying to regroup from an ugly home loss to the Rams in which quarterback Colin Kaepernick was sacked eight times and fumbled at the goal line with 2 seconds remaining while trying to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Harbaugh’s play-calling came into question, while running back Frank Gore defended offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Harbaugh reiterated Monday his faith in Roman.
“We’re not going to be concerned what other people think or point out,” Harbaugh said. “What we’re going to do, we’re going to take action to improve and get on to the next ballgame. ... We’re going to address the areas we need improvement and attack it.”
He declined to point out certain players’ struggles, preferring to meet with his entire team Tuesday to discuss what went wrong and how to move forward.
While Kaepernick was working with a new center, rookie Marcus Martin making his NFL debut,Harbaugh said the two didn’t have issues with their timing on snaps during practice last week.
“For the most part it was good,” he said. “As you watch the tape you see where we all have fingerprints on this.”
And he had already watched the film a few times as of lunchtime Monday.
San Francisco (4-4) knows it has work to do to make another postseason run. The Niners have reached three straight NFC championship games, but find themselves in third place in the tough NFC West — with two games against Seattle and one with first-place Arizona still remaining.
There are two tough road trips the next two weeks, beginning at New Orleans this Sunday then a trip to New York.
“The ship didn’t sink, we’re still in it,” tight end Vernon Davis said.
Notes: Harbaugh said LB Dan Skuta (ankle) and WR Brandon Lloyd (hamstring) were being examined further. ... Of Tramaine Brock, who missed Sunday’s game with turf toe after playing against the Broncos on Oct. 19, Harbaugh would only say, “we’ll continue to assess that.”