Raheem Mostert sat alone in the 49ers cafeteria in 2016, trying to find his way onto his seventh team in two years, when Joe Staley sat down and began a cherished mentorship.
"I just wanted to pick his brain, so I asked him, 'What does it take for a guy like me to be like Frank Gore?' " Mostert recalled Wednesday in a video conference. "Because Frank Gore is my idol and I love watching him play, and I know Joe was blocking for him when he was here."
Staley's response: "Hey, Frankie G, he likes to work.' ... You've got to be like Frank, man. You're a great running back. I can just tell by your personality. Frankie G. works really hard."
Mostert's workload should skyrocket this coming season, having emerged into a starring role on last season's road to the Super Bowl.
As Gore worked his way atop the 49ers' all-time rushing list from 2005-14, he averaged 257 carries per season after his rookie debut totaling just 127 carries.
For perspective, Mostert had 137 carries last regular season -- the same as Tevin Coleman -- before erupting for 53 carries and 336 yards and five touchdowns in the playoffs. That included a 220-yard, four-touchdown masterpiece in the NFC Championship win over the Green Bay Packers.
"I just try to live up to that expectation of Frankie G. and try to give it my all," Mostert added.
Mostert, 28, didn't have much wear on his tires before that season, at least as a running back. Of his 41 carries his first four years in the NFL, 33 came in his final five games of 2018 before a season-ending forearm fracture.
Mostert bulked up his speedy frame this offseason in his next step to mimic Gore's 49ers grind; Gore joined the New York Jets this offseason after stints in Indianapolis, Miami and Buffalo.
"Just trying to incorporate things in my daily workout so I can take those hits and be one of those guys getting 200 carries," Mostert said. "I've got to get prepared for that and the only way I know how is to get bulky and stronger."