Do you know who Raheem Mostert is?

It’s ok if you don’t. Most people don’t. Most football fans outside of the San Francisco area don’t either. I didn’t before January 19 when the San Francisco 49ers player ran for a franchise playoff record 220 yards and four touchdowns in their NFC Championship win over the Green Bay Packers.

Who is this guy?

A quick Google search of Mostert’s career will open your eyes to the power of grit, perseverance, and self-belief.

Raheem Mostert played very little during his college days at Purdue and went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent 2015-2016 bouncing between SEVEN different NFL teams before San Francisco signed him to their practice squad at the end of 2016.

Players can only stay on a practice squad for three seasons. After that third season, they either are moved up to the active 53-man roster – or their pro football career is over. Most players who bounce around a fraction of that many times retire from the game of football, believing they’ll never get their shot before the three years are up.

Mostert however, kept working toward his goal of playing in the NFL.

His career stats? He barely had any before this season:

  • 2016 – 1 rushing attempt for 6 yards
  • 2017 – 6 rushing attempts for 30 yards (and 1 lost fumble)
  • 2018 – 34 rushing attempts for 264 yards and 1 touchdown

These are not the numbers of an impactful player. He’s playing in mop-up duty or filling in for other injured players, sparingly seeing the field. Yet, Mostert kept working to improve his game every day, committed to his goal of playing in the NFL.

Despite being buried on the team’s depth chart this year behind higher-paid backs Tevin Coleman & Matt Brieda, Mostert believed he’d get his shot. He just wanted to be ready when it arrived.

This season that shot arrived when injuries to Coleman & Brieda thrust Mostert into the starting role. He rushed for over 770 yards and 8 touchdowns in his opportunities, averaging over five yards per rush.

Then came Sunday when he ran all over the Packers defense for 220 yards and four touchdowns.

Mostert’s football perseverance isn’t surprising when you consider the rest of his story. He left his home in Florida to attend Purdue, knowing the distance would be the one thing that allowed him to become the first person in his family to graduate college. He plays each moment for “CHOP,” his father-figure mentor who died in 2018, just four weeks after discovering the brain tumors and cancer that were ravaging his body. Persevering is just what Mostert does.

Raheem Mostert was cut six different times before finding a home in the Bay area and having arguably the greatest playoff game ever by a running back. His story is a shining example of what it looks like to persevere for what matters to you and teaches us the importance of:

  • Not focusing on what’s outside of your control, but instead be laser-focused on what you’re going to do today to get better.
  • Not letting someone else’s opinion that you’re “not good enough” be something you believe as fact. You may not be a fit with them, but that doesn’t mean you’re not good enough elsewhere.
  • Working as hard as you can as long as it takes to reach your goal.

This Sunday, keep your eyes on the 49ers’ #31 and be encouraged that his story is a blueprint for how you too can persevere until you reach your target goal.

Keep competing every day.