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Ravens find the ideal replacement

Justin Forsett, who wound up replacing Ray Rice as the Ravens' primary running back, knows exactly what it feels like to be pondering the end of his playing days.

For the Ravens, the 2014 season will undoubtedly be remembered for Ray Rice's stunning fall, from a respected and beloved Pro Bowl running back to the face of the league's domestic violence problem.

Rice's actions in the elevator of an Atlantic City, N.J., casino on that February night cost him his job with the Ravens and perhaps his NFL career.

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Justin Forsett, who wound up replacing Rice as the Ravens' primary running back, knows exactly what it feels like to be pondering the end of his playing days, albeit under far different circumstances.

Back in March, Forsett was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, his fourth NFL team, after one injury-plagued season. For a player, there are few indignities greater than being let go by a downtrodden franchise.

When another opportunity didn't immediately materialize, Forsett, a man of strong faith, started contemplating post-NFL life. But the Ravens, looking for some insurance at the position as Rice waded through his legal issues, came through with a $730,000 contract offer.

The conventional thinking was that Forsett was a placeholder and his tenure with the Ravens could be short. But there was Forsett many weeks later, kneeling in the end zone after his second touchdown against the New Orleans Saints all but sealed one of the Ravens' biggest victories of 2014. Forsett's arms were outstretched and his palms upward as he peered toward the sky.

Forsett was the 2014 Ravens' most valuable player and is a favorite to win the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award. During a tumultuous Ravens season, I'd much rather remember the revival of one career than the downfall of another.

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