When healthy, Marcus Lattimore is capable of being one of the most explosive backs in the NFL.
Unfortunately, the former part of that statement has kept the latter from becoming common knowledge. After suffering a gruesome injury during his final season in college, the former superstar contemplated not returning to the sport he loves.
Lattimore shared his thoughts following the injury, per Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News: "I just knew football was over with at that point. So I had to find something else to do with my life. ... I was just hoping to walk again."
Luckily, Lattimore didn't give up. And now, after over a year and a half since the injury, the 22-year-old is back on the field. The San Francisco 49ers' official Vine account provides a look at his workout earlier this week:
No, he's not taking hits or even in pads, much less making the same cuts he was accustomed to seeing from him in South Carolina. But what comes next is the most important for Lattimore as he makes his way back to the field for the 49ers.
Following the brief look at Lattimore from the team, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee and Taylor Price of 49ers.com both provided some analysis of his OTA workouts:
#49ers OTA ends with a Marcus Lattimore run. He looks good, albeit in a no-full pads, no- hitting context.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) May 28, 2014
As the offseason progresses, Lattimore's duties will become more and more strenuous as he works his way back to the field.
On top of that, the road back didn't get any easier with the Niners' recent draft selection. With an already loaded backfield including Frank Gore and LaMichael James, San Francisco added to that stable with Carlos Hyde.
But here's the catch: Every single player serves a purpose. Gore and Hyde are bruising backs that wear down the defense while James and Lattimore supply speed and agility as the holes open up around them.
Playing against defenses like the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams six times a year makes every player necessary. With an already explosive set of receivers for Colin Kaepernick, he will have a plethora of options in the backfield.
How will Lattimore play this season for the 49ers?
What makes Lattimore an X-factor for this upcoming season is more than just his ability but also his resiliency as a player. After going through the experiences he faced in college and throughout his NFL career to this point, expect Lattimore to make the most of whatever opportunity he's given in 2014.
After taking a chance on the dynamic back in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, Jim Harbaugh will see the fruits of his labor this season. If he returns to full health during the 2014 season, Lattimore has a chance to compete for Comeback Player of the Year purely based on his ability.
As for Lattimore, finally being able to unleash that explosiveness will be enough, but proving he can do it consistently will make him a game changer for a Super Bowl contender will be an entirely different feeling.
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