And the players seem to like the idea of sharing the touches — for now anyway. The 49ers appreciate seeing Gore on the field, too.
"It doesn't make just individuals better, it makes everybody better, and it's good for the team," Hunter said. "I think it's big (that Gore's here). Not only to the players but the organization because he's a leader and he does what it takes to win and he knows what it takes, and he can help the younger guys."
Harbaugh has described the competition this way: "It's going to get real real, and it's going to get real real, real fast."
James ran for 5,082 yards and 53 touchdowns on 771 career carries in three seasons at Oregon. That included 49 carries for 382 yards and four TDs in two games against Harbaugh's former Stanford team before the coach jumped to the NFL in January 2011.
"We envision him coming in and competing," Baalke said of James. "Like we always say, we're trying to create as much competition as we can. This does that. One thing about this football team, they're up to the challenge. They're not afraid to compete."
Center Jonathan Goodwin is eager to see what the Niners can do with so many options, including experienced newcomers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in the receiving corps.
"This offense has a lot of potential," Goodwin said.
Notes: CB Carlos Rogers was on the field but didn't participate in drills. ... Manningham, TE Vernon Davis, WR Michael Crabtree, RT Anthony Davis and S Donte Whitner were among those not in attendance for the voluntary workout. ... Harbaugh met at length with QBs Alex Smith and Josh Johnson in the outdoor weight room following practice.
AP Sports Writer Antonio Gonzalez contributed.
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