Justin Forsett Re-Signs With Ravens

Running back Justin Forsett is finally out of the friend zone.

Forsett and the Ravens agreed to a three-year contract worth a reported $9 million, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 29-year-old veteran has bounced around between five different teams during his eight years in the league. Now he's got a home at the place that first gave him a starting shot, the place that helped him become a Pro Bowler.

"They put a ring on it," Forsett said after signing his contract.

"I'm excited about the commitment. It's a place where my family will be for a little while. It's time to go to work now."

While the Ravens have lost offensive pieces Torrey Smith, Owen Daniels and Jacoby Jones in free agency, keeping Forsett is a major score.

"Sometimes you have fortunate signings in this business and Justin was one of those," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said.

"We were fortunate because he became such a vital part of our on-field success and quickly became a steadying influence in the locker room at an uneasy time for us. He gave us more than we anticipated. From what we expected, he gave us unprecedented production."

Forsett ran for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns last year. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry, the most among NFL running backs. Forsett also caught 44 passes for 263 yards.

Forsett finished fifth in the league in rushing yards last season, yet got a smaller deal than some other running backs on the free-agent market.

Leading rusher DeMarco Murray reportedly signed a five-year, $42 million deal, LeSean McCoy signed a five-year, $40 million extension with the Bills and Mark Ingram re-signed with the Saints for four years, $16 million. Even Frank Gore, who is two years older than Forsett and rushed for fewer yards last season, got a reported three-year, $12 million contract with the Colts.

But after the season Forsett had in Baltimore last season, both sides made it clear that they wanted to remain together. And they made it happen in the end.

Forsett said a lot of other teams were interested, but that "some things fell through last minute." He said he was most comfortable with the Ravens.

"Just think about where I was last year," Forsett said. "I was just glad somebody was interested. It only takes one team, and I'm glad it was Baltimore that stepped to the plate and showed the most interest when it came down to it."

The question now is whether Forsett can duplicate his 2014 success. There are many factors in Forsett's favor.

While running backs generally have a short shelf-life before they start to wear down, Forsett has younger legs. "I'm 29 years old, but my legs are 26," he joked on Tuesday. Since Forsett wasn't a lead back earlier in his career, he has less carries than his peers. He has 582 career carries and 235 came last season.

Forsett also helps the Ravens maintain continuity in what was a very strong year with the ground game. Baltimore went from last in the league in average yards per carry in 2013 to seventh last season. Forsett knows the running system and has familiarity with the offensive linemen, who are all expected to return.

The veteran is also a respected presence in the locker room and had already gained a strong following among Ravens fans, who started their own "Band-Aid Gang" in reference to the Band-Aid Forsett wore over the bridge of his nose for much of last season.

Forsett will enter the 2015 season as the presumed starter with Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro backing him up.

"He fits well into what we do on offense, and he handles all parts of the job effectively, including blocking and receiving," Newsome said. "Justin is a tremendous leader by example and willing to step up as both a leader and mentor.

"He is truly a success story, and we're happy he'll continue that with us. He earned his new contract."

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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