Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan’s faith in Raheem Mostert helped the 49ers running back reach his potential

Jan 22, 2020 at 12:31 PM--

How does a player like running back Raheem Mostert bounce between six different teams before finally landing with the San Francisco 49ers? He rushed for 220 yards on 29 carries against the Green Bay Packers this past Sunday in the NFC Championship Game, setting a franchise record for the most rushing yards in a single game and the second-most in any NFL playoff game. The NFL record, by the way, belongs to Eric Dickerson, who rushed for 248 yards in a playoff game in 1986.

That's pretty good company.

"I can't believe that. Eric Dickerson is the ultimate running back," Mostert told reporters after the game. "He's a guy I look up to, even all the other running backs, even with Frank Gore, to even be mentioned with somebody like Eric Dickerson, that's unbelievable."

A lot of teams are looking pretty foolish for letting a talent like Mostert slip through their hands. Now, Mostert gets to show them all what they missed out on as he prepares to play on sports' biggest stage — Super Bowl LIV.

General manager John Lynch spoke with Peter King of NBC Sports this week and explained why so many teams might have overlooked Mostert's abilities as a running back. Maybe he was just too good on special teams.

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"I think a couple of things hurt him," Lynch explained. "No. 1, he was one of the best special-teams players in football, and the importance of special teams is so critical. It's almost like people say he's too valuable at special teams to really use at running back unless he's going to be a feature guy.

"I think Kyle (Shanahan), Mike McDaniel, Bobby (Turner) saw something a little special in Mostert. The problem was he struggled sometimes with ball security, and they challenged him, and they kept working.

"During our 4-12 year (2018), when he fumbled a couple of times, rather than bench him, Kyle said, 'I'm going to keep giving it to you. You're going to figure this out.' And Raheem kind of came through that, started to have some big games, and then broke his arm (in Week 9 against the Raiders).

"But I think that belief in Raheem -- I know Raheem will tell you that when Kyle said, 'No, you're not going back to just being a gunner. You're too good at this. We're going to keep giving you the ball,' I think, all of a sudden, Raheem starts believing in himself a little more."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below. It begins at about the 4:40 mark.

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