Teammates react to Justin Forsett’s release from Ravens
— 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.