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Why 49ers’ Raheem Mostert might not start in Super Bowl

MIAMI — When you have one of the greatest playoff games in NFL history, at the very least you can expect to start the next time the team takes the field, right? That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Sure it does, and Raheem Mostert likely will get the call at running back for the 49ers Sunday against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. But he might not.

“I’m not sure,’’ Mostert told The Post. “You never know, there might be a different game plan.’’

Different game plan? What in the world?

Mostert ravaged the Packers two weeks ago in the NFC Championship game, and no player has ever run for more yards (220) and more touchdowns (four) in a postseason game. If that does not assume him a start, something is strange and wrong.

Or else, normal around the 49ers.

“They may feel Tevin [Coleman] or Matt [Breida] or Jeff [Wilson] is better throughout the week than I am,’’ Mostert said. “A lot of different variables. No matter what, I’m going to be ready.’’

Raheem Mostert
Raheem MostertGetty Images

Mostert knows the deal. Breida started the divisional playoff game against the Vikings. Coleman started the next week against the Packers but left early with a dislocated shoulder that is not expected to keep him out of the Super Bowl.

The historic performance, Mostert figures, earned him playing time.

“But I don’t necessarily see it like that,’’ Mostert said. “I see it no matter if Tevin’s up, if he’s gonna be starting, Matt’s going to be starting, even Jeff Wilson’s going to be starting, we’re all going to give it our best.’’

How the 27-year old Mostert got here explains his selfless approach. He was cut six times, moving from the Eagles to the Dolphins to the Ravens to the Browns to the Jets and to the Bears before landing with the 49ers. His speed is legitimate, but he languished on special teams, rarely getting a shot on offense.

“To watch Raheem battle and make the team each year as a special teams player, how good he was on special teams and when he took advantage of his opportunities as a running back, I can’t say enough good things about him as a person and as a player,’’ coach Kyle Shanahan said.

Mostert led the 49ers in rushing this season with 772 yards despite not starting a single game. Nothing on his résumé prepared anyone for his eruption in the most significant game of his career, and no one knows if he has an encore in him.

“It’s going to be magical,’’ Mostert said. “It’s going to be one of those games that will be real exciting, not only to have a game like that, to be hoisting that trophy on that stage. That’s going to mean more to me than my performance. It meant more to me in the NFC Championship game to be able to go on that stage and hold my son. That was the proudest moment for me.’’

There could be another moment upcoming for Mostert. Or it might be Coleman or Breida in the 49ers’ version of How the Running Back Turns.

“Our mentality is to win,’’ Mostert said. “We don’t care necessarily how many reps we’re getting or how many carries we’re getting or how many touchdowns we’re going to score or is so-and-so is doing better than me. We’re worried about winning, that’s our goal, to help the team win.’’

For more on Super Bowl 2020, listen to the latest episode of the “Blue Rush” podcast:

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