Bal­ti­more na­tive West hopes to make Ravens ‘last stop’

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— Terrance West hopes Bal­ti­more is the fi­nal stop on his NFL jour­ney.

The home­town kid is on his third team in as many pro­fes­sional sea­sons, but this time, he’s where he feels he be­longs.

“Grow­ing up in Bal­ti­more, I al­ways was a Ravens fan. Com­ing out of the draft, the Ravens were go­ing to draft me, but the Cleve­land Browns traded up and picked me,” West said. “It is hard to get in the NFL. When my name was called, I was just happy to be in the NFL.”

West’s jour­ney came full cir­cle when he signed with the Ravens back in Novem­ber, but it has not been with­out ob­sta­cles.

The Bal­ti­more na­tive starred at Tow­son Uni­ver­sity. He found him­self in hot water there at times, too, dur­ing an up-and-down ca­reer.

West ran for 1,294 yards and 29 touch­downs dur­ing his fresh­man sea­son with the Tigers. Those num­bers dropped dur­ing his sopho­more year. He was benched for a game against Old Do­min­ion and pub­licly threat­ened to quit the team via Twit­ter after­ward.

West bounced back for one of the best in­di­vid­ual sea­sons in FCS his­tory as a ju­nior. He rushed for 2,509 yards and scored 41 touch­downs while lead­ing Tow­son to the na­tional cham­pi­onship game. He was a fi­nal­ist for the Wal­ter Pay­ton Award.

The Browns se­lected West in the third round of the 2014 draft. He showed prom­ise as Cleve­land’s lead­ing rusher with 673 yards as a rookie.

But ques­tions arose about West’s work ethic and the Browns be­lieved he re­ported to train­ing camp over­weight. He was traded to the

OWINGS MILLS

Ten­nessee Ti­tans for a con­di­tional sev­enth-round draft pick after the fi­nal pre­sea­son game.

West only ap­peared in two games for the Ti­tans. He ran for a to­tal of 51 yards and fum­bled twice before be­ing waived in Novem­ber.

Bal­ti­more signed West to its prac­tice squad three days later. Sea­so­nend­ing in­juries to starter Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Tali­a­ferro forced him onto the ac­tive ros­ter. He de­buted for his home­town team on Nov. 30 on Mon­day Night Foot­ball against the fran­chise that had traded him for a sev­enth-round pick days before the sea­son be­gan.

West gained 180 yards and av­er­aged nearly four yards per carry in six games with the Ravens in 2015. He also caught four passes for 21 yards. He en­tered this year’s train­ing camp third on Bal­ti­more’s run­ning back depth chart – be­hind Forsett and second-year back Buck Allen. But so far, West has turned the most heads.

He’s a stocky, pow­er­ful run­ner who can burst through holes be­tween the tack­les. His size has proven de­cep­tive, though, as he’s shown quick­ness and flu­id­ity in his cuts.

“He has had a great off­sea­son, OTAs and train­ing camp,” run­ning backs coach Thomas Ham­mock said. “He has done a great job of study­ing the play­book and he is in great shape. He is re­ally com­pet­ing hard.”

West said that he “was OK with the play­book” last sea­son. He claims to know it per­fectly now and called pass pro­tec­tion the area where he’s im­proved the most.

There have been no ques­tions about the type of shape West re­ported to train­ing camp in. On Mon­day, West said that he weighed 220-225 pounds dur­ing his days at Tow­son. He weighs 215 pounds now. He feels more pow­er­ful and more ex­plo­sive, he said.

“He’s done a re­ally good job,” Ravens coach John Har­baugh said. “He’s in great shape; he flashes tal­ent, he’s very de­ter­mined, is all busi­ness. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate it.”

There’s also been no signs of the prob­lems with coach­ing that he pre­vi­ously had a rep­u­ta­tion for.

“There’s no push­ing or prod­ding, other than just the coach­ing,” Har­baugh said. “Terrance has re­acted to the coach­ing very well. He lis­tens and he tries to do what he’s asked to do. We haven’t seen any is­sues with that at all.”

West, 25, cred­its the re­cent birth of his twin daugh­ters for the pos­i­tive changes in his life. He only has two fo­cuses these days.

“I just had two daugh­ters. I have a son, too, so I have three kids. I just limit all my dis­trac­tions and fo­cus on foot­ball first, then my fam­ily. While I’m in camp, I just fo­cus on foot­ball,” he said. “[My kids are] great mo­ti­va­tion. That puts an­other chip on my shoul­der. I don’t want my kids to de­pend on any­body; I want them to de­pend on me, so I’m just try­ing to put the work in now.”

West should see plenty of ac­tion in Thurs­day’s pre­sea­son opener against the Carolina Pan­thers. He’s in a bat­tle for car­ries as Bal­ti­more’s third-string back, but that’s just the next chal­lenge he plans to over­come.

“Through­out my ca­reer – high school, col­lege – I’ve al­ways had ob­sta­cles I have had to over­come,” he said. “I was in Cleve­land, I went to Ten­nessee, now I’m with the Bal­ti­more Ravens. I want to make this my last stop.”

Fol­low Sean Grogan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Run­ning back Terrance West, right, is bat­tling for play­ing time in a Bal­ti­more Ravens back­field that fea­tures Justin Forsett, left, and Buck Allen, cen­ter.

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