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Jaguars Explain Why They Cut Justin Forsett


On March 15, 2013, Justin Forsett signed a two-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On March 11, 2014, Forsett was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Boy, does that look like the wrong decision now.

As Ravens fans (and pretty much anybody that follows the NFL) know, Forsett has gone on to have what might end up becoming a Pro Bowl season.

Forsett leads all NFL running backs with 5.6 yards per carry. He is third in rushing yards with 1,080. He has more runs of 20-plus yards than the entire Jacksonville Jaguars roster.

So why in the world did the Jaguars get rid of him?

"He just had some injuries when he was here, and he struggled with playing time because of that injury," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Wednesday. "It just really lingered on, and we had some younger guys at the running back spot."

Forsett dealt with a foot injury in Jacksonville that set him back early. He fell to the bottom of the depth chart, got only six carries all season long, worked on the scout team and was eventually placed on injured reserve after nine weeks.

Forsett said the "writing was kind of on the wall" that he would be released.

"So I wasn't really surprised, but it was still a hard pill to swallow, knowing that you've been cut and didn't know what the future was going to hold," Forsett said. "I just kept the faith, kept working, and this opportunity came up."

Forsett got healthy and has broken out in Baltimore. Now the Jaguars will come to M&T Bank Stadium with a troubled running back corps.

The Jags' leading rusher, second-year player Denard Robinson, was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Monday with a foot injury. The converted former Michigan quarterback had 582 rushing yards and was averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Toby Gerhart is dealing with an ankle injury and has 211 rushing yards on the season.

So does Bradly regret releasing Forsett?

"No, I think it's more about the person. Just because I know him so well, it's more excitement for him," Bradley said. "He's so deserving of it – what he brings to the locker room, what he brings to the team. I am just excited for what he's brought to Baltimore."

This reunion between Forsett and the Jaguars is a far cry from wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.'s reunion with the Carolina Panthers, his former employer of 13 years. Forsett was with the Jags only one year. Plus, he's a different person.

"He's a lot less fiery than me, so I think he'll be alright," Smith said with a grin.

Forsett said he doesn't have any resentment toward the Jaguars.

"All of the pain and the hurt that I may have felt during that time, it made me a better man," he said. "Those dark moments and those times of frustration there, they happened for a reason. … Those times really molded me."

Forsett isn't the only Ravens player that will be facing his former team Sunday.

Inside linebacker Daryl Smith was cut by the Jaguars after the 2012 season while he was still their all-time leading tackler. The Ravens picked him up last year and he was, by many media estimations, Baltimore's defensive MVP.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe was selected eighth-overall by the Jaguars in 2009. He was traded to Baltimore midway through last season and performed so well that the Ravens inked him for five more years.

Bradley and the Jags made a decision quickly after he arrived that they would part ways with Smith, even though they "knew that he still had some good years in him." Bradley said the Jags needed draft picks, so that's why they traded Monroe. Jacksonville has undergone a youth overhaul.

Monroe said it doesn't feel like much of a homecoming because the Jaguars have had so much turnover. And he's thankful to be on a team in the playoff hunt – something he wasn't accustomed to in Jacksonville.

"Any time you have a chance, there's energy, there's excitement, there's emotion," Monroe said.

Take a look at some of the best moments captured on camera of the running back's best season of his career.

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