By Lenn Robbins
Now that the 49ers are about to transition from reveling in their demolition of the Green Bay Packers to preparing for the Super Bowl, the first thing San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan should do is confiscate Raheem Mostert’s surf board.
Super Bowl LIV will be played in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, a four-hour drive from Mostert’s home town of New Smyna Beach, Fl. New Smyna Beach is the unofficial “Shark-Bite Capital of the World.”
According to National Geographic, anyone who has swam in the waters off New Smyna Beach has been within 10 feet of a shark. Ten.
So, of course, Mostert took up surfing.
Now let me ask you: If the possibility of getting eviscerated by a distant cousin of Jaws wasn’t going to deter Mostert from surfing, do you think getting cut from six NFL teams, including the Jets, would scare him away from making his pro football dream come true?
It was Mostert, one of the three backs that comprise San Francisco’s running game, who ran the Packers back to Green Bay on Sunday in a 37-20 NFC Championship game victory. He set a career franchise with 220 yards rushing on 29 carries. It’s also the second highest total in postseason history.
“I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers,” Mostert told reporters after making chum of the Green Bay defense. “Now I actually tell them, ‘Look where I’m at now.’ I never gave up on my dreams.”
The 49ers will meet the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in two weeks with Mostert emerging as the best surprise of the postseason. He started the season a distant third on the depth chart behind Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman, both of whom battled injuries.
Enter Dominque Raheem Mostert, who has fallen through the cracks more than a penny. He led the 49ers with 772 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. He was a three-star recruit coming out of New Smyna Beach High School, choosing Purdue over several schools including Miami, Rutgers and the Naval Academy.
He also ran track, winning many Big Ten titles. But he went undrafted and his NFL free agent tour began. The 49ers, who place a premium on speed, signed him in 2016.
Coleman suffered what has been a reportedly severe elbow/shoulder injury against Green Bay meaning Mostert is likely to be San Fran’s No.1 rusher.
Once again, he also will be playing second fiddle to someone, in this case Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill. Hill is the fastest player in the NFL. Mostert, who played at Purdue, is the second according to NFL.com.
He was clocked at running 21.87 MPH on his 36-yard touchdown run Sunday.
“He’s so fast,” tackle Joe Staley told reporters. “He’s incredibly fast. He’s fearless going through the hole.”
Of course, he’s fearless. He swam with sharks.