Raheem Mostert sent a pointed message to the NFL teams who cut him after leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Mostert, 27, dominated the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 220 yards in San Francisco's 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers.
The 49ers now have two weeks to prepare for their Super Bowl date with the Kansas City Chiefs, giving running back Mostert the chance to reflect on his rough ride to the summit.
The Florida native passed through six franchises before settling with San Francisco in 2016.
"I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers," Mostert told a post-game news conference.
"Now I get to tell them: 'Look where I'm at now.'
"I never gave up on my dream and the opportunities when they presented themselves. I always worked hard no matter what. Before every game, I looked at the cut dates, when I got cut.
"I've been on seven different teams and the journey has been crazy. Not everybody can deal with that type of stress and the pain and agony I went through. I kept the faith in not only myself but whoever gave me the opportunity.
"This organisation has gone a great job with that."
Mostert ran in three TDs to help the 49ers to a 27-0 half-time lead against the Packers and scored his fourth in the third quarter at Levi's Stadium.
San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman, a Super Bowl champion with the Seattle Seahawks, suggested Green Bay had the wrong mindset after losing 37-8 when the teams met in November.
"I think they were trying to pump themselves up, hype themselves up. They were talking about a revenge game," Sherman said.
"When you stay ready, you don't got to get ready. They were trying to hype themselves like 'man, we're going to be ready this time.'
"You weren't ready the first time and that was in front of the whole country. That was a Sunday night game. It kind of bothered us a little bit – did you not take the game seriously?"