MIAMI – Most Dolphins fans probably don't remember Raheem Mostert.
That’s because his tenure in Miami was brief. Real brief.
Mostert returned two kicks for 57 yards in a 23-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015 -- his first regular-season NFL game.
Two weeks later, the undrafted rookie, who had been acquired by the Dolphins from Philadelphia’s practice squad, was waived.
Now the San Francisco 49ers running back is back in Miami preparing to play in a Super Bowl, this time with his seventh NFL team.
Mostert’s story begins in New Smyrna Beach, where he was a star receiver and kick returner in high school. He got plenty of offers and interest from schools in the state (Miami among them), as well as from Wake Forest and Indiana.
“The only two teams that really didn’t offer me were Florida State and Florida,” Mostert said Monday during Super Bowl LIV media day at Marlins Park.
Ultimately, Mostert decided to sign with Purdue, where he had a modest four-year career with the Boilermakers.
So how does a Florida boy who ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash leave the Sunshine State to play college football?
“The reason why I went to Purdue was I wanted to be the first person in my family to graduate and I wanted to also get away from, you know, the Florida environment,” he recalled. “Just didn’t want to be around my friends and people that I knew. I wanted to break off and be my own guy, and Purdue was a great place to do that.”
Mostert’s role as a kick returner eclipsed his rushing performances. By the end of his senior season in 2014, Mostert finished his college career with 2,289 kick return yards and two touchdowns. In four seasons as a rusher, Mostert carried the ball 136 times for 759 yards and six scores.
Although his audition at Purdue wasn’t enough to get him drafted, Mostert’s play caught the eye of the Eagles, who signed him as an undrafted free agent. Despite leading the NFL in yards from the line of scrimmage in the preseason, Mostert didn’t survive final cuts and was instead signed to the practice squad.
By the second game of the 2015 season, Mostert found himself on an active NFL roster with the Dolphins.
His Dolphins debut came on a 32-yard kick return in the first quarter. His finale was a 25-yard return in the second.
“It’s one of those things where you live and you learn,” Mostert said. “I did what I did here, but it was time for me to move on and take those experiences with me and just grow.”
The day after Miami waived him, Mostert was signed by the Baltimore Ravens. Cut by December, he finished the season with the Cleveland Browns.
As a rookie, Mostert wound up spending time with four different teams.
Things started the same in 2016. Signed to the practice squad with the New York Jets in September, Mostert was released six days later. He then caught on with the Chicago Bears, appearing in two games before being relegated back to the practice squad.
Mostert finished out the 2016 season in San Francisco, where he’s been ever since. But after injuries sidelined him in 2017 and 2018, the 27-year-old took on an increased role this season, playing in all 16 games for the first time in his career.
He set a franchise postseason record with 220 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.
After so many years as a journeyman, Mostert, who signed a contract extension last year, seems to have found stability. At last.
“I finally have a place to call home,” he said.