Team­mates re­act to Justin Forsett’s re­lease from Ravens

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN



— The writ­ing was on the wall for Justin Forsett when he was a healthy scratch against the Oak­land Raiders on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Two days later, the vet­eran run­ning back was cut by the Bal­ti­more Ravens in what the or­ga­ni­za­tion re­ferred to as a mu­tual part­ing of ways.

Forsett’s for­mer team­mates re­acted to his de­par­ture Wed­nes­day af­ter prac­tice.

“It’s al­ways tough to ac­cept when you see one of your friends go,” line­backer Ter­rell Suggs said. “It’s al­ways tough, but just like when the Big Guy left, when 92 [Haloti Ngata] left, the show must go on. We wish him all the suc­cess in the world, it’s very un­for­tu­nate that it didn’t get to work out, but it’s part of the game.”

Forsett, 30, had a Pro Bowl sea­son for the Ravens in 2014. He rushed for 1,266 yards and av­er­aged a league-best 5.4 yards per carry.

But more im­por­tantly than the num­bers, he starred in a role he was thrust into un­ex­pect­edly fol­low­ing Ray Rice’s re­lease af­ter his in­fa­mous in­ci­dent in an elevator of an At­lantic City casino. Forsett’s class, ma­tu­rity and lead­er­ship gar­nered in­stant re­spect from the en­tire locker room.

“It’s tough, he was a brother. It’s al­ways tough to see guys go, es­pe­cially a guy like him,” quar­ter­back Joe Flacco said. “There’s not enough good things that can be said about him, so it’s def­i­nitely tough to see a guy like that go.”

Head coach John Har­baugh was asked Mon­day if Forsett still had a spot on the ros­ter fol­low­ing his bench­ing the pre­vi­ous day. Har­baugh was non-com­mit­tal in his re­sponse, but called Forsett a “highly-re­spected, highly- val­ued guy.”

On Wed­nes­day, Har­baugh called the move “what’s best for the team.”

Forsett strug­gled as the Ravens’ start­ing run­ning back through the first three weeks of the sea­son. He av­er­aged just 3.2 yards per carry.

Se­cond-year run­ning back Buck Allen was ac­ti­vated for the first time in 2016 Sun­day in Forsett’s ab­sence, but Ter­rance West ben­e­fit­ted from it the most.

West gained a ca­reer-high 113 yards and a touch­down on 21 car­ries. Rookie Ken­neth Dixon is back at prac­tice af­ter sprain­ing his knee in Bal­ti­more’s third pre­sea­son game. Dixon had been the team’s most im­pres­sive run­ning back dur­ing train­ing camp prior to the in­jury. Lorenzo Tali­a­ferro could be ac­ti­vated from the phys­i­cally un­able to per­form list in the com­ing weeks.

The Ravens’ back­field was sim­ply be­com­ing too crowded.

“It was sur­pris­ing. I didn’t know that they were go­ing to do that,” West said of Forsett’s de­par­ture. “He’s a great per­son off the field, he’s a great player on the field and he’s a pro­fes­sional at all times.”

Forsett’s char­ac­ter showed on ros­ter cut­down day when he agreed to be waived so that the or­ga­ni­za­tion could be­gin the sea­son with two in­jured play­ers on ac­tive ros­ter. The hurt Ravens were moved to in­jured re­serve two days later with the pos­si­bil­ity of re­turn­ing later in the sea­son and he re-signed with the team. Forsett is a rare per­son­al­ity in the NFL that would agree to be part of such a move, even if it was only tem­po­rary.

This time, it’s per­ma­nent.

Fol­low Sean Grogan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig


The Bal­ti­more Ravens re­leased run­ning back Justin Forsett on Tues­day, two days af­ter he was a healthy scratch for the team’s game against the Oak­land Raiders.

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