Ravens release running back Justin Forsett

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Credit: Damian Strohmeyer / Associated Press

On Tuesday it was announced that for the second time in the last month, the Baltimore Ravens have released running back Justin Forsett.

The first time this occurred, the Ravens were making a strategic move in finalizing their 53-man roster. Baltimore signed Forsett back just a few days later, and the 30-year-old tailback was Baltimore’s week 1 starter.

This time, however, it appears that Forsett will not be returning to the Ravens. Reports have claimed that this was a mutual decision between Forsett and the Ravens. Forsett apparently met with general manager Ozzie Newsome and requested his release. This came just two days after Forsett was listed a healthy scratch from Sunday’s game against the Raiders. Terrance West was Baltimore’s starting running back on Sunday, while Forsett watched from the sidelines.

Forsett has been a journeyman since coming into the NFL in 2008 as a seventh round pick by the Seattle Seahawks. He spent time with the Seahawks, Colts, Texans, and Jaguars before coming to the Ravens in 2014. He was initially expected to be the team’s third string running back behind Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, but after Rice’s domestic violence incident Forsett earned the starting job.

After the ugly Rice situation, Forsett was a savior for the Ravens in 2014. He had his first 1,000-yard season on the ground, rushing for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards-per-carry. His 2014 campaign was good enough for him to be named to his first career Pro-Bowl. After the season, Forsett signed a three-year, $9 million contract to remain with the Ravens.

However, along with the rest of the team, Forsett struggled in 2015. His yards-per-carry average dropped to 4.2 yards, and he scored only two rushing touchdowns before breaking his arm in Baltimore’s week 11 win against the Rams. That was the same game in which quarterback Joe Flacco tore his ACL. Forsett would end the 2015 season on injured reserve, and was looking to bounce back to pro-bowl form in 2016.

While the Ravens’ offensive line has struggled, and the run game has gotten off to a slow start, Forsett only rushed for 98 yards on 31 carries in the first three games of the season. West was performing better out of the two running backs, and Buck Allen served as the back-up running back behind West on Sunday.

With rookie running back Kenneth Dixon returning from an MCL injury as early as this week, Forsett would have been in an even more diminished role if he had stayed with Baltimore. Before Dixon suffered his injury in the third preseason game, he looked to be the most explosive running back on the team. The coaching staff has been impressed with him, and the Ravens now have a young running back committee between Dixon, West and Allen.

Forsett confirmed the news shortly after it was made official on Twitter:

Forsett was well-respected in the Ravens’ locker room, and is a class act. Ravens players and staff members expressed on Twitter how much they will miss having him around.

It will be interesting to see how eager general managers will be to bring a 30-year-old running back onto their team. Whoever signs Forsett will be getting a true professional and a leader who wants to prove that he has plenty of gas left in the tank.

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