That lasted exactly two carries into the season.
Now one must wonder if Mostert will ever take another carry with the 49ers.
The writing was on the wall for Mostert entering his seventh NFL season after San Francisco used third- and sixth-round selections to draft his replacements this spring and add to the collection of promising young veterans the 49ers already have in their running backs stable.
Still, Mostert was going to be The Man this season in San Francisco’s running back rotation, as he clearly separated himself from others this summer, just as he has clearly separated himself from others when healthy during his emergence over the past three seasons.
And the 49ers have made it perfectly clear that their intention is again to run the football down opponents’ throats this year, just like San Francisco did during its Super Bowl season of 2019 when the 49ers finished second in the NFL in rushing offense.
Mostert was set up for big things as he entered his contract season at age 29. A team captain for the first time and bigger, healthier, and faster than ever, Mostert couldn’t hide his gusto and enthusiasm when he spoke with the media during the week before San Francisco’s season opener.
“I’m feeling great like I’m at my best right now,” Mostert said. “Can’t wait to go out there and show you guys what I’m capable of. Like I’ve told you guys before, my mentality is I want a (Hall of Fame) gold jacket and I’ll work my tail off to get it. It’s going to be exciting, for sure.”
The excitement lasted just a few minutes into San Francisco’s second offensive series at Detroit.
After quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo fumbled away San Francisco’s first offensive snap of the season, Mostert received a handoff on first down to begin the 49ers’ second drive. He slashed over the left side for an 11-yard gain before being pushed out of bounds, displaying the explosiveness and speed that has made Mostert such a dangerous weapon.
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EIGHT IS ENOUGH
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THE BACK LIST
STOCK UP STOCK DOWN
DEOMMODORE LENOIR | AMBRY THOMAS
Will Mostert run for 49ers again?
Raheem Mostert was primed this year to be the centerpiece of one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses, featured as the lead performer in San Francisco’s grinding rushing attack while making his climb among the league’s top running backs.
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In the weeks that follow after you read this — and perhaps sometime even sooner than that — Kyle Shanahan and the rest of the 49ers organization will make a titanic decision that will have present, future and perhaps even everlasting implications for the franchise. It will chart the course for the team’s pivotal 2021 season while determining whether San Francisco really does have the juice to return to powerhouse status and again be considered a legitimate contender to get back to the Super Bowl.
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Fred Warner vaulted to stardom with a spectacular 2020 season — and the 49ers rewarded him this summer with a $95.225 million deal that makes him the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history. By today’s standards, Warner’s performance last year was worth the money as he posted an Approximate Value of 19 — matching the highest score ever recorded by a San Francisco defender according to a Pro Football Reference formula that puts a single number on each player-season across all positions since 1960. Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman (twice) also had seasons with an AV of 19 as they dominate this list of the greatest individual seasons by a linebacker in 49ers history.
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