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HOF aspirations motivate 49ers RB Raheem Mostert

Raheem Mostert's greatest football moment was years in the making. Now he's ready to make more of them.

The running back's legendary NFC Championship Game performance -- you know, the one in which he rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns -- inspired even more ambitious visions of grandeur. Waived three times and released three times before landing in San Francisco, Mostert wants his likeness bronzed in Canton.

"I just relived everything that was going on in my life. I had my son with me on that stage," Mostert said of his incredible NFC title game performance during an appearance on DAZN's The Pat McAfee Show. "That was the most inspiring thing that I possibly could do in my lifetime right now. It was just one of those things for me when I just soaked it all in and looked back on my track record and the things that I've done, it really opened up my eyes that 'hey, look, I did this, I mean why stop?' Just keep going. Keep doing the right things, the necessary things in order to be great.

"That's something I want to be, man. I want to be able to have a gold jacket, and the only way to do that is to be great."

Mostert's NFL.com player page is truly remarkable. Before he arrived in San Francisco, he hadn't logged a single career carry in nearly two seasons (spent with five different teams). His first attempt came in his lone game with the 49ers, his second team with which he spent time in the 2016 season. The next year, he tallied just six carries for 30 yards.

And then, the boom. Mostert set the stage for his 2019 explosion by first showing small glimpses of what could be in 2018, carrying the ball 34 times for 261 yards and a touchdown. The next year, those marks increased to 137 carries, 772 yards and eight touchdowns. And that's not including his memorable day in Santa Clara that sent the 49ers to Miami.

He'd likely not even be here had unfortunate outcomes not happened to his teammates. Two seasons ago, the 49ers were ecstatic to be sending Jerick McKinnon out as their lead back, and last offseason brought the addition of Tevin Coleman to that stable. By the time the Super Bowl arrived, it was Mostert's and Matt Breida's show due to injuries suffered by McKinnon and Coleman.

Now, the 49ers seem to have a talent glut in their backfield, but they sure are getting their bang for their buck. Consider: Christian McCaffrey's four-year, $64 million extension signed this week vaulted him to No. 1 in average per-year compensation for NFL running backs at $16 million annually. That deal moved McCaffrey past the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott, who averages $15 million per year (but accounts for $10.9 million of Dallas' 2020 cap, thanks to backloading).

Coleman ($4.86M), Breida ($3.259M), Mostert ($3.158M) and McKinnon ($2.91M) combine to take up less of a cap hit in 2020 than either McCaffrey's projection or Elliott's per-year average, per Over The Cap.

That type of roster construction is why the 49ers reached the Super Bowl. And if Mostert keeps up his 2019 play, he will indeed increase his still-slim chances of making the Hall of Fame -- and very much boost his chances of getting paid.

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