Ravens running back Terrance West talks about why he decided to sign with the Ravens upon his release from the Titans. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Before he reported to training camp with the Cleveland Browns this summer, Terrance West got his own place in his native Baltimore, about 10 minutes from the Ravens practice facility.
Now, the former standout Towson running back is on the team's practice squad after a tumultuous first half of the season, and feels like this is the place to jumpstart his career.
"I played Pop Warner here," West said Wednesday after his first practice with his childhood team. "I played high school here. I played college here. Sometimes, you get lonely, you miss your family. But this is where I belong right here. This is a great fit for me."
West, 23, was available after the Tennessee Titans waived him on Saturday and no team claimed him. He chose the Ravens over several offers, he said, bringing him to the place he assumed his professional career would begin.
"I've always wanted to be a Raven, and this is my home, so I chose the Ravens," West said.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said general manager and executive vice President Ozzie Newsome got to know West "pretty well" because the Ravens were looking at him in the NFL draft process in 2014. West said the Ravens were going to use their second third-round pick, No. 99, on him, but Cleveland traded up to select him at No. 94.
"Getting into the NFL with any teams is a blessing, but I had my mind set to becoming a Raven coming out," he said. "But hey, everything happens for a reason."
West started strong for the Browns, leading the team in rushing with 673 yards and four touchdowns, plus one receiving touchdown in 14 games. He split time with undrafted rookie Isaiah Crowell, though, and Cleveland drafted running back Duke Johnson in the third round this past spring.
West said he fell down the depth chart during training camp after offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who pushed to draft him, moved on from Cleveland. The Browns traded him to the Titans for a conditional draft pick before Week 1 this year, but he was buried on the depth chart there as well.
"This is my third team [this year]," West said. "I wasn't expecting this. This offseason, I worked hard and had a lot of changes this year. But everything happens for a reason. God took me around the world, to different teams just to bring me home, so I can appreciate it more."