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RB Mostert Making Most Of Chances

Posted Aug 31, 2015

Five yards deep. That was the point of no return for Raheem Mostert as he lined up deep to open Saturday's preseason game in Green Bay. Five yards deep. Mostert just wanted kicker Mason Crosby to give him a chance at a return ...

Five yards deep. That was the point of no return for Raheem Mostert as he lined up deep to open Saturday's preseason game in Green Bay. Five yards deep. Mostert just wanted kicker Mason Crosby to give him a chance at a return.

Crosby booted the football and it traveled through the perfect summer night at Lambeau Field into the arms of Mostert at the minus-5. Mostert had his chance, and he made it count, starting up the middle of the field, breaking to his right, reaching the sideline and gulping up yards. He was eventually run out of bounds at the Green Bay 38-yard line - a 67-yard return - and the Eagles scored their first touchdown of the night six plays later and Mostert had his adrenaline surge and his confidence boost.

"It helped for sure," Mostert said. "I mean, I just wanted to get a shot at a return and to get the blocks and have the holes open and to hit them and see all that open field and that green grass, it was great. I wanted the touchdown. I wanted to go get it. It was a great way to start the game for us."

Mostert is in the midst of the biggest week of his football life. Rosters are whittled to 75 players by 4 p.m. today and then reduced to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m. The reality of the business is very much in the air, and for a non-drafted player like Mostert, a running back turned receiver and then running back again in his football life, palms are sweaty.

When the Eagles released 12 players on Sunday after the win at Green Bay on Saturday, Mostert was on edge. Very much so. He saw some men with whom he shared a bond lose their jobs.

"Yeah, it was really nerve-wracking, but at the same time I knew that once the plan was in place and I was here, I was going to go for it, go with it and just go out there and give it my best," he said. "That's all anybody can ask for, a chance to achieve your dream, and that's all I can do - give it my best."

Mostert has certainly done that in the preseason performances. He has 88 rushing yards on 24 carries and six receptions for 101 yards and then two kickoff returns in Green Bay for 85 yards. The 67-yarder was big for a player who has all kinds of speed - Mostert was the sprint champion in the 60-meter, 100-yard and 200-yard Big Ten Championships in his time at Purdue - and is much more physical a running back than a 5-10, 190-pound back would seem to possess.

And yet, Mostert knows the situation. He spends so much of his football in the running back room that includes DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. All three have been dominating players in the NFL. All three have helped Mostert learn the ways of the league. Talent is a blessing, and hard work and understanding how to prepare is an art form and a discipline.

"It was definitely an eye-opener to walk into that room for the first time, but right away the guys were with me, helping me," Mostert said. "I appreciate that so much. But I'm just focusing on my main objective, and that is to make this football team and push myself to the next limit to make myself a great football player."

That brings us to Thursday and the fourth and final preseason game. Mostert is going to get his touches and give the Eagles' coaches something to think about, as well as the 31 other NFL teams. Murray, Mathews and Sproles are going to make this roster. Kenjon Barner has played his way into serious consideration with a fantastic preseason.

Can Mostert find a way to stick here, even if on the practice squad, or find a home somewhere in the league?

Anyone who wants the preseason reduced from four games doesn't take into account cases like Mostert. He cherishes ever rep and every opportunity to show that he belongs.

"Right now, though, I'm just looking at it like it's any situation and it's a chance to go out and do what I do," said Mostert, who credits his girlfriend in Indiana with helping motivate him and keep him on point no matter the time of day or night. "Regardless of the outcome, I'm just going to go out there and play to the best of my abilities. I definitely feel I can play at this level. I know I have a lot to learn, but physically there is no doubt already. I've had a couple of runs since I've been here where I've really seen the power that I have, breaking tackles. I may not look big, but I'm close to about 200 pounds and try to bring the power and the physical play. I love contact."

He will get plenty of it against the Jets (7 p.m., NBC10 in Philadelphia and nationally on NFL Network). Mostert is going to bring it, give it all he has. He's come a long, long way in a short period of time. The biggest step is Thursday night, and then the nerves will wrack again.

"I just want to play and get the chance to show what I can do," he said. "I'm excited to go out there and give it everything I can give."

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