Af­ter cal­cu­lated gam­ble, team re-signs Forsett

Baltimore Sun - - NAVY FOOTBALL - By Jeff Zre­biec jeff.zre­biec@balt­sun.com twitter.com/jef­fzre­biec/sun

Two days af­ter he was re­leased amid the Ravens’ ros­ter jug­gling, Justin Forsett re-signed with the team Mon­day. The vet­eran run­ning back, who was the high­est-pro­file cut as the Ravens trimmed their ros­ter to 53 over the week­end, will prac­tice to­day and be in line to play Sun­day in the team’s reg­u­lar-sea­son opener against the Buf­falo Bills at M&T Bank Sta­dium.

Terms on Forsett’s new deal weren’t im­me­di­ately known. To ac­com­mo­date the re­turn of Forsett and wide re­ceiver-kick re­turner Devin Hester, who signed a one-year deal Sun­day, the Ravens placed both de­fen­sive tackle Carl Davis (an­kle) and safety Matt Elam (knee) on in­jured re­serve.

The moves, in­clud­ing Forsett’s ini­tial re­lease, were or­ches­trated by the Ravens to al­le­vi­ate the team’s ros­ter crunch and al­low for the pos­si­bil­ity of ei­ther Davis’ or Elam’s re­turn­ing to the ac­tive ros­ter later this sea­son.

There was risk in­volved be­cause Forsett im­me­di­ately be­came a free agent — as a vested vet­eran, he didn’t need to clear waivers — and he could have signed with any­body af­ter the Ravens ter­mi­nated his con­tract. How­ever, both sides seemed to un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion and made it work.

In re­mov­ing him from the ros­ter when they did and hold­ing off from of­fi­cially sign­ing Hester, the Ravens were able to keep both Davis and Elam on the 53-man ros­ter through 4 p.m. Sun­day. Un­der league rules, the Ravens are al­lowed to bring one IR player back to the ac­tive ros­ter, but that player had to still have been on the ac­tive ros­ter through 4 p.m. Sun­day. Thus, wide re­ceivers Michael Cam­pa­naro (River Hill) and Chris Matthews, who were placed on IR on Satur­day, are not el­i­gi­ble to come back to the ac­tive ros­ter Justin Forsett will prac­tice to­day and is ex­pected to play in Sun­day’s opener. this sea­son, and Elam and Davis, whose IR trip was de­layed 24 hours, are el­i­gi­ble.

The jug­gling re­flects the Ravens’ ef­fort to ma­neu­ver their ros­ter and keep as much depth as pos­si­ble. What’s not yet clear is whether Forsett had any al­ter­ations to his pre­vi­ous con­tract as a re­sult of the move. He was en­ter­ing the sec­ond sea­son of a three-year, $9 mil­lion deal.

Forsett had some fun with the sit­u­a­tion on his Twitter ac­count, writ­ing “the plot thick­ens” af­ter his re­lease. When re­ports sur­faced Mon­day that he was re-sign­ing with the Ravens, Forsett in­sisted no de­ci­sion had been made. Af­ter both he and the team con­firmed he had in­deed signed a new deal, Forsett wrote, “Man I tell you ... this book I’m go­ing to write next off­sea­son about my jour­ney is go­ing to be epic!”

With the ad­di­tion of Hester and the re­turn of Forsett, the Ravens have an ac­com­plished re­turn man on the ros­ter and three healthy run­ning backs. Forsett will join Ter­rance West (Tow­son Uni­ver­sity, North­west­ern High) and Buck Allen in the back­field. Rookie fourth-round pick Ken­neth Dixon, who had a strong pre­sea­son, is ex­pected to be side­lined for a cou­ple of weeks with a torn MCL in his left knee.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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