The long journey that will ultimately lead back to his home state of Florida for Super Bowl LIV has been a wild one for San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert.
The 27-year-old undrafted dynamic speedster out of Purdue University was used as primarily a kick returner as he bounced around practice squads and active rosters before the 49ers signed him to their practice squad in November of 2016.
On Sunday, Mostert stamped his place in 49ers’ history and jettisoned into the spotlight, as he steamrolled through the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, scoring four touchdowns while rushing for a franchise single-game record of 220 yards (the second-most rushing yards ever in an NFL postseason game).
Before the 49ers gave him a shot, Mostert was cut by six NFL teams in the span of a year and a half. Most would have hung up the cleats at that point. But, not Mostert – he kept grinding until he was given an opportunity.
“I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers,” said Mostert while speaking to reporters after Sunday’s NFC title 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 opportunity when they presented themself. I always worked hard no matter what.”
Mostert went on to talk about how he looks at the list of teams that cut him for motivation before every game.
“It’s crazy I’ve been on seven different teams,” said Mostert. “I actually still have the cut dates, and I look at that before every game. I look at the cut dates, when I got cut.
“Like I said, I’ve been on seven different teams and the journey has been crazy. 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 not only in myself but whoever gave me the opportunity and this organization has done a great job with that.”
Six NFL Teams Passed Up on Mostert Before 49ers Gave Him Shot
Mostert played college ball at Purdue University, where he was utilized as a kick return specialist and also starred on the track team. He was considered one of the fastest college players in the game.
The dynamic talent went undrafted out of school but signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.
Mostert bounced around for a year and a half before getting called on by the 49ers, ultimately being cut by the Eagles, the Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets and the Chicago Bears.
The 49ers believed in his talent enough to keep him on board following a run with the practice squad in 2016, and Mostert’s role began to expand in 2017 under head coach Kyle Shanahan.
All he needed was an opportunity, and he got it this season when injuries to Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida opened the door for more carries.
Mostert played in 16 games this season and carried the ball 137 times, rushing for 772 yards and eight touchdowns. To put that in perspective of his meteoric rise to success, his previous career-best was in 2018 when he played in 9 games and had 9 carries for 261 yards and a single touchdown.