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Justin Forsett Doesn't Want To Share Lead Running Back Role


Ravens running back Justin Forsett is no dummy, but he played dumb on the first day of training camp.

When asked if he doesn't want a running back-by-committee approach given the Ravens' abundance of talent at the position, Forsett responded, "What's that?"

"What is running back by committee? I don't really know what that is," he joked.

Forsett was a Pro Bowler in 2014 when he rushed for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns. He was the lead dog again last year until he broke his arm in Week 11, opening the door for rookie Buck Allen and Terrance West.

Now, with plenty of competition in the running backs room, Forsett is happy to help his younger teammates, but he isn't ready to give up his starting role.

"I want to put myself in a position where they can't take me off the field. That is my mentality," Forsett said. "At the end of the day, everybody has their role, and I'll let coach decide that." 

Forsett said he grew up watching Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders, the workhorse backs of the 90s. Times have changed since then, and very few teams (if any) hitch their wagon to one running back. Teams roll in multiple tailbacks to keep them fresh and utilize their different strengths.

But every running back still wants the ball as much as possible. The Ravens will find out during training camp who deserves it more than others.

Allen stepped in for Forsett last year and showed he can handle a large role. He rushed for 514 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and one touchdown, and showcased his receiving skills with 45 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns.

Entering Year 2, he doesn't want to take a step backwards. He said he's focused on being more physical this year, playing up to his 220-pound frame. He also said he wants coaches to feel like he'll be "accountable in any situation." Allen was referring to some fumbling issues last season.

"Being that guy that can play first, second, third and fourth down. Whatever you need me to do, I'll do it," Allen said. "All of us are trying to compete. Everybody wants to be the starter."

The Ravens also have rookie fourth-round pick Kenneth Dixon, West, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Trent Richardson pushing for carries or a roster spot. To compete, both Taliaferro and Richardson will need come off the physically unable to perform list first.

They all have promise, but even Allen alluded to Forsett as being the leader of the group.

"Starting with Justin, a veteran guy. He's a workhorse," Allen said. "He comes out here and sets the tone which everybody tries to match or go beyond."

Forsett is one of the most respected and well-liked players on the team. When Dixon went down with a minor knee injury in Thursday's practice, Forsett helped carry him off the field. Forsett said that, after having great mentors himself such as T.J. Duckett, Maurice Morries, Julius Jones and Edgerrin James, it's "my duty" to pass on what it means to be a pro.

But after battling to find a place in the NFL for much of his career, Forsett doesn't want to give it up. Not yet.

"I look at it like [this] every year: I've got to fight, make sure I'm doing my best and am at my best," Forsett said. "My goal is to go out and lead this team to a Super Bowl. I'm going to try to put myself in a position to do so and attack every day like it is my last."

We're looking at competitive positions heading into Organized Team Activities, where players will battle for depth chart positioning. It's unclear who will be Baltimore's featured running back or odd man out in a deep group.

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