Meet Raheem Mostert, 49ers running back cut by six NFL teams before playoff stardom
Mostert was released by six NFL teams in 18 months before catching on with the 49ers
Long before his starring role as a key cog in the San Francisco 49ers’ offense during its run to the Super Bowl, running back Raheem Mostert struggled to even earn a spot on an NFL roster.
Mostert went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a rookie free agent. Over the next 18 months, Mostert was cut by six different NFL teams – the Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Chicago Bears – before joining the 49ers near the end of the 2016 season.
After operating as a reserve for the last two years, Mostert gained an increased share of work out of the 49ers backfield as the 2019 season progressed, posting 772 rushing yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season. Mostert saved his career-best performance for the NFC Championship game, rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the game that secured the 49ers’ spot in Super Bowl LIV.
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“I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers,” Mostert told reporters after the game. “Now I get to actually tell them, ‘hey, look where I’m at now.’ I never gave up on my dream. I never gave up on the opportunities when it presented itself. I always worked hard, no matter what.”
Mostert’s rise came as a relative surprise given his scant usage in the past. Entering the 2019 season, the 27-year-old running back had just 41 career carries since he started his professional career.
After flashing special teams prowess and explosiveness as a runner during a 2018 season in which he averaged 7.7 yards per carry, the 49ers gave Mostert a three-year contract extension worth $8.7 million last March.
He earned $2.65 million during the 2019 season, more than he had in every previous season combined.
“He’s just earned everything,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told the Washington Post. “He earned today. He’s such a good person. I can’t say enough good about Raheem.”
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With primary 49ers running back Tevin Coleman’s status for the Super Bowl undecided due to a dislocated shoulder, Mostert will likely receive a large share of backfield work against the Kansas City Chiefs in the big game.
Mostert will use his past struggles as motivation before the game. He has the dates of his “cut days,” or the dates on which he was released, written down as a reminder.
“The journey has been crazy,” Mostert said. “Not everybody can deal with that type of stress and pain and agony that I went through. But like I said, I kept the faith in not only myself but whoever gave me the opportunity. This organization has done a great job with that.”