Raheem Mostert says he’s been an underdog most of his life.
But after a breakout season with the 49ers in 2019, Mostert’s long road to success – filled with disappointments and stops with several teams – has made him appreciative of what he’s accomplished.
And, he doesn’t blame anyone for his lack of success before 2019.
“It’s not so much about what they missed,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, of his previous NFL teams. “Maybe I didn’t do just enough. I take the blame on most of that stuff because I’m always going to ask myself, ‘Hey, when I was here, what did I do wrong? What could I have done differently?’ ”
The former Purdue running back and track standout went undrafted after college, but signed with the Eagles in the spring of 2015. After that, Mostert bounced to the Dolphins, Ravens, Browns, Jets and Bears before finally arriving on the 49ers practice squad in November of 2016.
Mostly, he played special teams before finally getting a legitimate shot to carry the ball in 2018 with San Francisco. That season he ran 34 times for 261 yards, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt. In 2019, he exploded into a legit offensive weapon, gaining 772 yards for a 5.6 average with eight TDs, while also catching 14 passes for 180 yards and two more TDs. Over three postseason games, he gained 336 more yards rushing and scored five TDs.
Now, as the 49ers look to the 2020 season, Mostert is at the front of a pack of good backs – including Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Jerick McKinnon – vying for No. 1 status.
General manager John Lynch says he’s grateful for all the work Mostert did to improve himself, and the work coaches did to give him opportunities.
“Raheem exploded on o the scene,” said Lynch recently. “He earned that. We’re very proud of him, very happy for him. He made our team better.”
Mostert is not only good, but good for the team’s tight salary-cap situation. He’s signed for two more seasons and due to make $2.6 million in 2020 and $2.9 million in 2021. That’s a bargain.