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John Lynch responds to Raheem Mostert criticism of 49ers

© Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been something of an odd week for Raheem Mostert. The former 49er signed with Mike McDaniel’s Miami Dolphins this offseason on a one-year, $1.94 million deal after missing nearly the entirety of the 2021 season.

Mostert was quoted by Tyler Dunne saying that the Dolphins have a quarterback in Tua Tagavailoa who can “actually sling it.”

“We have way more talent here,” Mostert said. “It’s going to get spooky.”

Referring to Tagavailoa, and interpreted as being a slight against Garoppolo, he said:

“We have a quarterback who can actually sling it.”

Mostert joined KNBR this week to clear the air, saying that his comments were taken out of context and that in terms of talent, he was speaking about the Dolphins’ current talent compared to their past talent.

He was adamant that he wasn’t dissing Garoppolo, either, pointing to how close the two are.

“I would never, ever in a million years talk down on a player, specifically a guy like Jimmy, because we’ve grown together, all those years that I was there,” Mostert said. “My family and his family. My family is like his family. I’ve been to his brother’s wedding. His sister-in-law and my wife are the best of friends, and my wife can’t wait to be in San Francisco to meet up with her this weekend.”

But one part of the interview with Dunne that Mostert was clear about was that he was disappointed with the way things went down for the 49ers.

Mostert opted for a different surgery than the one recommended by the 49ers’ doctors and sat out the entirety of the season. Per Dunne’s piece, he said felt like the 49ers held that against him.

“It isn’t right,” Mostert says. “And it’s up to the player to step up and say, ‘This isn’t right. I don’t think this is the best of my interest.’ Sometimes, you don’t get that with players. But, for me, that was my case. I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew exactly how I’d handle the situation. I knew exactly — coming off rehab — what I needed to do in order to get back on the field.”

He so many nicks throughout his turbulent NFL career, Mostert wanted to be as healthy as he possibly could. Knee injuries can render running backs sad, slow reincarnations of what they once were. You’re often deemed damaged goods. Replaceable.

Sent to the Goodwill bin in favor of someone younger, healthier, with much less mileage. Mostert weighed all pros and all cons when he decided to sit out the season. He knew how much he was risking — the decision absolutely pissed the 49ers off — but he also knew how hard he would work.

When free agency hit, he believes the 49ers used his decision against him.

‘Yeah, they did,’ Mostert says. ‘They definitely did. I moved on from the situation. I have the opportunity to see them.’”

General Manager John Lynch joined KNBR on Thursday and said he took issue with that criticism, or the insinuation that the 49ers didn’t have his best interests at heart.

“I got a lot of love for Raheem,” Lynch said. “You know, the only thing I — not take offense, but I take issue with is we’re always going to do the best thing for our players’ health.

I think, not to get specific on that, there was a difference — there were a couple of opinions as there are, often on what’s the proper fix for an issue. The one that he took wasn’t the opinion that our doctors had and there were other doctors involved with that.

So that is what it is, but I have a lot of love for him as a person. There’s a lot of respect and he’s a really good football player. So we’re gonna have to be ready. Sometimes things get said. Raheem felt like a lot of the things, I know, were out of context.”

The initial prognosis for Mostert’s injury was a six-to-eight week timeline after an arthroscopic surgery in order to deal with a knee cartilage issue.

It was suffered on the second play of the 2021 season and Elijah Mitchell took hold of the starting job immediately after. Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. will return to Levi’s Stadium on Sunday.

Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Tolbert & Copes weekdays from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.