The former third-round pick had bounced between three teams in less than three seasons, and he knew that his hometown Baltimore Ravens could be his last stop.
He ultimately won the starting job after establishing himself as Baltimore’s most consistent and durable running back, and his emergence partly led to the Ravens cutting veteran Justin Forsett four games into the season.
West proved capable of being a No. 1 back, and now he has bigger goals in mind.
“I’m a determined person. I’ve been like this my whole life. I had all of the odds going against me. A lot people said I probably wouldn’t even make the roster [last summer],” West said. “There’s a lot more left on the table that I think I can achieve this year – getting 1,000 yards, winning a Super Bowl.”
Last year was the best season of West’s young career. He finished with 774 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 193 carries, and he also added 34 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown.
The strong year came after he committed himself to slimming down and getting in better shape. He’s sticking with the same approach this year, and said he wants to continue playing at around 215 pounds. West is staying in Baltimore during the offseason and working out at Under Armour’s downtown campus until the Ravens open their offseason conditioning program in April.
West is intent on keeping his starting job, but he’s well aware that he’ll be pushed for it.
By the time the Ravens report for training camp this summer, there will likely be at least one new running back on the roster.
“That’s the NFL. This is not pop warner, it’s not college. This is the NFL, so you have to come prepared each and every day,” West said. “Your job is in jeopardy every day. That’s how I look at it. Bring in four, five of them. That’s the least of my worries.
“I just know what I’m going to bring to the table. I’m going to work hard and God doesn’t make mistakes. I’ll work my tail off and the rest will take care of itself.”
West is a restricted free agent this offseason, so the Ravens still have to tender him to keep him in Baltimore.
Whoever the Ravens have as their top ball carrier next season, a clear priority is to be more committed to the running game. Baltimore finished 28th in the league in rushing yards per game (91.4) and 21st in rushing yards per attempt (4.0) last season.
Owner Steve Bisciotti and Head Coach John Harbaugh have both stressed the importance of getting the ground game on track, and West is on board with that.
“Definitely music to my ears about running the ball. I’m definitely excited,” he said. “I’m going to come well prepared when we report back and get moving.”