Sometimes, when a guy gets cut in the NFL, that’s it. Sayonara. He never gets heard from again.
For Raheem Mostert, it was a little more complicated than that. There is a small contingent of Eagles fans, mainly the internet trolls and pot stirrers, who feel the team made a huge mistake by releasing Mostert in 2015.
Keep in mind, the undrafted rookie was buried behind more established players like DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner on the depth chart. Chip Kelly went out of his way to give Mostert a chance and tried to stash him on the practice squad but the Miami Dolphins plucked him away and the rest is history.
Let’s be clear, there is no love lost for Kelly in Philadelphia. The decision to cut Mostert was a tough one for the former Eagles coach. For starters, Mostert had enjoyed a stellar preseason in 2015 where he led the entire NFL in yards from scrimmage (351).
He also caught 14 passes for 194 yards and rushed 39 times for 157 yards, capping the exhibition slate by busting loose for 162 yards in the finale. Yes, the potential was there and Kelly knew it. He often gushed about the speedy kid out of Purdue.
“Mostert did a really good job, and we are excited about him,” Kelly said in 2015, via Bleacher Report. “He’s a real speed guy and could factor in the kick return game. He was the 100-meter champion in the Big Ten. I think he’s an interesting guy to keep an eye on here in this preseason camp.”
Kelly, of course, was fired by the Eagles toward the end of the 2015 season and the two men went their separate ways.
Kelly Hands Mostert Second Chance in San Francisco
The relationship between Chip Kelly and Raheem Mostert may have had its first chapter in Philadephia but the storybook ending would be years away.
In 2016, Kelly was back patrolling a sideline as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and he needed a running back. He signed Mostert to the 49ers practice squad on Nov. 28 and promoted him to the active roster on Dec. 31 and threw him into the fire in Week 17.
He rushed one time for six yards in that game but proved to be a valuable contributor on special teams (68 return yards). Obviously, Kelly saw something in Mostert and wanted to incorporate him into the 49ers’ offense. One problem, the head coach was fired at the end of the 2017 season.
Incoming San Francisco GM John Lynch liked Mostert enough to give him a chance on special teams. He made the most of his opportunity and the franchise even rewarded him with a three-year contract worth $8.7 million, per NBC Sports Bay Area. Mostert may have never gotten his second chance at a fresh start without Kelly.
“Not everybody can deal with that type of stress and pain and agony that I went through,” Mostert said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “But I kept the faith in not only myself but whoever gave me the opportunity. This organization has done a great job of that.”
Mostert Credits Philadelphia for Jump-Starting Career
As some nay-sayers were blaming the Eagles’ organization for letting Raheem Mostert slip away, the 27-year-old running back surely wasn’t sulking.
He ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game for the 49ers. In doing so, Mostert became the first player in NFL history to rush for four touchdowns and more than 200 yards.
After the game, Mostert reflected on his long journey to get to the pinnacle of professional football after leading San Francisco to Super Bowl LIV. Six different teams had passed on his services early in his career, including the Eagles, Browns, Dolphins, Ravens, Bears and Jets. He defied all odds.
“I actually still have the cut dates and I look at that before every game,” Mostert told reporters. “I look at the cut dates. When I got cut.”
Every team except for maybe the Eagles. He still has a soft spot for Philadelphia after all these years. According to his agent Brett Tessler, Philadelphia was “great to us and we have nothing but fond memories of starting our career there.” And Mostert is welcome back anytime.
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