EASLEY, SC — There’s a slight change in the long line of fans waiting for a picture with and autograph from Marcus Lattimore these days.
Mixed among the abundance of South Carolina apparel is that of the San Francisco 49ers, the NFL team for whom Lattimore plans to one day play for.
“I love being at home. I love being here,” said Lattimore, who made an appearance Sunday afternoon at the new Sam’s Club in Easley after returning from San Francisco on Saturday.
Before he can play for the 49ers, however, Lattimore has to rehab the knee he injured playing for the Gamecocks last fall — and he expressed the patience needed for that work.
“It’s good,” he said. “I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing. I know it’s a long process. My knee feels great. Been running. Really have had no problem, so everything’s been good.”
As to when he’ll play, Lattimore said, “I really don’t know. I’ll get a chance to practice midseason sometime, and we’ll see what happens after that.”
Lattimore said he participated a little bit in the 49ers’ mini-camp, and “it felt good to get back on the field.”
Being selected in the fourth round by San Francisco, the 2012 NFC champions, has been a good thing for Lattimore.
“When you go there, you see why they win so much,” he said. “Everybody’s unselfish. That’s what it takes to be a championship team, and that’s why they made it to the Super Bowl.
“I’m just trying to be a part of it. It’s just a great feeling to be there. I couldn’t be in any better place.”
On this Sunday, though, Lattimore was focused on meeting the fans, some of whom began lining up as much as four hours prior to his 1 p.m. appearance.
He said he likes “putting a smile on their face because I was that kid one time that wanted a role model, somebody to look up to, and (other athletes) did that for me. So I’m glad I can be there for somebody. Represent everything the right way.”
Marcus Lattimore commemorative issue
Go to thestate.com/lattimore; it also is available at three Jewelry Warehouse locations or at The State Newspaper at 1401 Shop Road.