Like it or not, newly-drafted 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore may not play a single game in the NFL until 2014.
Lattimore, the 49ers’ fourth-round selection, was passed over in the draft only because of a devastating knee injury that he suffered last season in college with South Carolina, tearing three ligaments in his right knee during a game. He had a breakout freshman with over 1,000 yards on the ground, earning him National Freshman of the Year honors.
Which is why the 49ers may be doing him a favor by “redshirting” him for his rookie season. They already have enough talent on their roster to win a Super Bowl, so there is no need for Lattimore to jump in immediately.
Having him sit out a year gives him ample time to recover from surgery and learn the offense, all while experiencing the culture of an NFL locker room.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh concurred, saying:
We’re going to slow the aggressive, physical (rehabilitation) down and make sure that Marcus is going to be 100 percent healthy before he’s out there on the field. I’ve told him that, shared that with him, shared that with his mother, and if he doesn’t play this year, he doesn’t play this year.