The Ravens are looking to get younger in their backfield, leading Baltimore to part ways former Pro Bowl running back Justin Forsett.
Forsett, who turns 31 this month, watched his role in Baltimore’s backfield diminish significantly as he was inactive for last Sunday’s tilt against the Raiders. Forsett was already splitting snaps with teammate Terrance West before he was benched.
“It was mutual,” Forsett said of his release. “I felt like my opportunity here was closing. I’m at a phase where I don’t want to sit; I want to play. I have a lot of football left in me.”
After spending the vast majority of his career as a backup, Forsett had a breakout year for the Ravens in 2014, where he rushed for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns on 235 attempts. Forsett was named to his first ever Pro Bowl as a result.
In 2015, Forsett’s season was cut short due to a broken arm.
“It was tough,” Forsett said of the injury. “You put so much time and effort in, especially after breaking my arm last year, to try to get back and help the team out. You come out and you don’t have the stats you want to have, you get demoted and you’re watching the game.”
Forsett’s 2016 season didn’t start out as planned. The Ravens’ run game couldn’t get anything going during his three games of action as Forsett was only able to rush for 98 yards and averaged 3.2 yards a carry while failing to find the end zone.
With Terrance West proving to be of starting caliber and promising rookie running back Kenneth Dixon returning from a knee injury, Forsett became expendable, especially under his $3 million salary for this season.
“I try to find peace in it all,” Forsett said. “I try to make the best out of every situation and look at how it can make me a better person.”
Forsett was one of the most respected guys in the Ravens’ locker room and his leadership was unquestioned. During his short tenure, Forsett quickly became a fan favorite in Baltimore.
“Justin is a highly respected, highly valued guy in my eyes and the eyes of all of us,” Harbaugh told reporters following Forsett’s release. “It is a competitive league; it is a competitive sport. He knows that as well as anybody. It doesn’t diminish him in any way. It just enhances him, in my mind, in terms of how he handles it.”
Now Forsett is a free agent, and is free to sign with any team. It remains to be seen if Forsett can return to his 2014 form, but Forsett believes he is up to the task.
“It’s more fuel to the fire for my next endeavor,” he said.