Everyone who makes it to the Super Bowl did so thanks to hard work and a drive to win it all, but some have a tough journey. Raheem Mostert fulfilled a lifelong dream when his San Francisco 49ers made it into the Big Game. In his mind, it was a culmination of events that started when he came into the NFL, with every team that cut him on the way to the Super Bowl paying the price for what they did.
Mostert’s football journey
It can be easy to assume that every NFL player had an easy path to their jobs. After all, the draft coverage often focuses on the players who are joyously accepting their fate as their names are called. For players like Mostert, even getting on the field for an NFL team was filled with years of rejection and the feeling of being overlooked.
He started his journey to the NFL at Purdue after a successful career in high school. There, he spent three years as a secondary option on the team, and as a result, his numbers were less than spectacular. During his senior year, however, everything changed. Mostert rushed for 500 yards in 11 games and gave the team three touchdowns in the process. He got the NFL’s attention but ultimately went undrafted.
The Eagles were the first team to give Mostert a shot at the NFL, but he was relegated to the practice squad. While he played several games for the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, and Cleveland Browns that year, he was mostly used to fill space on the field and didn’t get a single touch. Similarly, his second year in the NFL saw him playing a similar role in the New York Jets and the Chicago Bears. At the end of the year, however, Mostert got the call to change his career forever.
Mostert gets a chance
Mostert suited up for the 49ers just one time in 2016, but a relationship was forged. The team was still dwelling at the bottom of the standings following their brief rush of contention, but Mostert provided adequate depth in the offense. The team brought him back the following year in a slightly more significant role, although he only touched the ball six times in 11 games. That role grew slightly larger the next year, as he touched the ball 34 times.
It wasn’t until 2019 that Mostert became a constant in the 49ers offense. He rushed 137 times for 772 yards and eight touchdowns. This helped propel the team to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Chiefs. However, as Mostert talked about what it meant to play, he spoke about how the teams that cut him prepared him for the big game.
After dominating in the NFL Championship with a four-touchdown performance that brought the team to the NFL, Mostert looked back on the path that got him to that game. He spoke about the hurdles and how they drove him to do better.
“I’ve been on seven different teams,” Mostert told the press. “I actually have [a list of] the cut dates, and I look at that before every game — when I got cut… The journey’s been crazy. Not everyone can deal with that type of stress and pain and agony that I went through.”
He applauded the 49ers for allowing him to have such a performance. However, despite that success, he might find himself on yet another team in his long and strange career. After failing to reach an agreement on a new contract, Mostert requested a trade from the 49ers. After all the work he put in to get there, he wants to be rewarded. Time will tell if that trade request moves either him or the 49ers. However, if he goes elsewhere, the 49ers might regret letting go of such a passionate presence in that locker room.