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Terrance West Squares Off Against Hometown Team


There was a time after the draft when running back Terrance West seemed miffed that his hometown team hadn't drafted him.

If it was up to them, maybe they would have. But the Browns traded up, ahead of the Ravens, and selected West with the 94th overall pick in the third round.

The Baltimore native and Towson standout packed up and headed to an AFC North rival. And on Sunday, he'll welcome the Ravens to his new town – Cleveland.

"I'm past that point right now," West said of thinking about whether he could have been in purple and black. "I'm looking forward to playing against the Ravens right now. That's my main focus."

West is a success story born from the roughest streets in Baltimore.

He rose to be a star at Towson. In three seasons, he tied the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record with 86 total touchdowns while he piled up 4,849 career rushing years. Last year, he led all college backs with 2,509 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns, and carried the Tigers to the FCS title game.

"Terrance is a guy that we really liked, as you know," Head Coach John Harbaugh told reporters. "We had designs on him in the draft, certainly, and Cleveland jumped up there and got him and he has not disappointed."

West was originally slated to be the Browns' backup. But starter Ben Tate suffered a sprained knee in Week 1 and West has taken over.

He ran for 100 rushing yards against the rival Steelers in his first game and followed it up with 69 yards on 19 carries and his first touchdown last week versus New Orleans. Through two games, West is averaging 4.8 yards per carry.

"He's an explosive kid," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "If he's given the opportunity, he can pop one and change the game, wreck the game for you, make it a long game for you. So, we have to do our job and make sure he doesn't get off on his hometown team, so to say."

Harbaugh and Suggs aren't the only ones with an appreciation for West's skills.

During his time in college and the draft process, West befriended Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. He calls running back Bernard Pierce a "big brother" who kept him on the right path. Now West will be playing against them.

"It's just going to be fun, like playing against another high school," West said. "Like when I was back in high school and I played at Northwestern; it's like playing against Forest Park – guys that you know."

Still, West says he's stripping the emotion from the game. He hasn't gotten many hometown requests for tickets because he posted on his Facebook page, "Tickets are not free."

"So they probably got the hint," West joked. "My main focus is playing against them on Sunday. I'm not worried about tickets right now."

Asked whether he has any extra motivation to show the Ravens what they let out of their backyard, West said no.

"I'm just going to approach the game like I approach the game each and every week – have a good week of practice and everything else on Sunday will take care of itself," he said. "I'm patient, physical, I've got great vision. I can catch a pass; I can do it all."

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