Terrance West believes Baltimore should have been the first stop on his NFL career. Now he wants to make it his last.
After growing up in a tough Baltimore neighborhood and starring at nearby Towson, West is back where he belongs. And in his first training camp as a Raven, he's making a strong pitch to stay.
At the start of camp, it seemed West's mission was to convince the Ravens to keep a fourth running back on the 53-man roster. But in a crowded competition, with the way he's been playing, he could just end up on top.
"Throughout my career – high school, college – I've always had obstacles I have had to overcome," West said. "I was in Cleveland, I went to Tennessee, now I'm with the Baltimore Ravens. I want to make this my last stop."
West was drafted in the third round in 2014. The Cleveland Browns traded up to get him five spots ahead the Ravens, who were highly interested.
It didn't work out in West's one season in Cleveland and he was traded about 11 months ago to the Tennessee Titans. He played in just two games there before being released. The Ravens scooped him up.
Due to injuries to Justin Forsett and other Ravens running backs, West became the No. 2 tailback behind Buck Allen for six games last season. He rushed 46 times for 180 yards (3.9 per carry). They weren't jarring numbers, and West has the talent to do better.
This offseason, West has made strides in three key areas: maturity, body composition and the playbook.
The reports out of Cleveland when West was traded was that he had "poor practice habits and preparation." Mentally, West said he's not focused any more this year than in years past.
On Monday, West wore a hat from a clothing line that he's invented. It's called "B.W.I." and stands for "Ballin' With Intention."
With the birth of twin baby girls this offseason, West said he has "great motivation." He now has three kids, and he often shared his adoration for them on social media this summer.
"I limited all the distractions and focus on football first, then my family," West said. "I don't want my kids to depend on anybody; I want them to depend on me, so I'm just trying to put the work in now."
Part of that work was getting trimmer. West had put on some pounds in his first and second years, but says he's now five to eight pounds lighter than he was in college. And he's shown on multiple occasions in practice that it hasn't affected his power, as he once knocked linebacker Zachary Orr on his backside.
West always had good feet, but with a trimmer body, he's making cuts that other running backs haven't shown. He's danced out of tackles with sharp lateral movements before bursting to the edge. He's also shown great burst in planting his foot and getting uphill.
"I think it's been really good. He's done a really good job," Harbaugh said of West's camp so far. "He's in great shape, he flashes talent, he's very determined, is all business. I really appreciate it."
West came to the Ravens in the middle of last season, so there was definitely an adjustment process. He's on his third team in three years, but he's put in the work this offseason to become more familiar with the offense.
"I'm very comfortable with the playbook," West said. "Last year, toward the end of the season, I was OK with the playbook, but now I'm perfect with the pass protection; I know everything."
That's the big question with West. Where does he fit in?
Harbaugh said Forsett is looking like his Pro-Bowl self from a couple years ago and Hammock also talked up Forsett and Allen. Rookie fourth-round pick Kenneth Dixon is healthy again and would presumably take up another roster spot.
"He is really competing hard," Running Backs Coach Thomas Hammock said of West. "Competition brings out the best in everybody, and without the competition in the room, I'm not sure he would be having the type of camp he is having."
West will need to continue to practice well and make plays in the four preseason games. He'll also likely have to prove he can help on special teams (he fielded kickoff returns Monday). West is trying a bit of everything, trying to make an impression.
He said he's taking it one play at a time and trying to not overthink things.
"Stay level and just play hard," West said. "I have limited opportunities."