Raheem Mostert, a player who has zero starts in his 50-game NFL career, has no problem referring to himself as a starting running back.
Actually, he proved to be more of a finisher last season.
Mostert finished the regular season as the 49ers' leading rusher. And as he enters his third training camp with the 49ers, he said he has one simple goal.
“When I step onto that field,” Mostert said, “I want everybody to say, ‘That’s a bad mo-fo.’”
Everybody was saying that in January, when Mostert produced the mother of all games in the NFC Championship Game. He had the biggest day from a running back in franchise history when he gained 220 yards with four touchdowns in the 49ers’ victory over the Green Bay Packers to send the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
Mostert saw NFL regular-season action with four different teams before finishing the 2016 season with the 49ers. In his first three years, he had a total of eight rushing attempts. He finally earned a chance in 2018 and gained 261 yards on 34 attempts.
Last season, he broke out from being considered solely a special-teams ace. Mostert gained a team-leading 772 yards and eight touchdowns on 137 attempts.
In the offseason, he worked on getting his body prepared for the rigors of an increased workload by improving his strength and body mass. Mostert figures to be the headliner of a group of running backs that includes Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson.
“I've got to prepare myself because I am the starting running back,” said Mostert, who agreed to a reworked contract that added incentives to his deal to pay him accordingly if he again leads the team in rushing.
Mostert later clarified that he projects himself as a starter just as 49ers running backs coach Bobby Turner believes the team’s depth chart at running back is full of starting-caliber players.
But, actually, Mostert’s next starting assignment will be his first. He said he is not too concerned whether he is on the field for the first snap of the game.
“Truthfully, it doesn’t make any difference,” Mostert said. “I got to have that mindset that I am the starter, but when it comes down to it, we have five, six different starters in our room.
“I do feel I’m the starter. (That’s) no dig to anyone in the room. We’re all brothers and that’s our approach.”