Ravens running back, and league journeyman Justin Forsett is no stranger to adversity. All throughout his career, he's had to face it. Out of high school, many colleges avoided him because of his size. In college at Cal, Forsett was stuck behind two other running backs, one of them being Marshawn Lynch, yet he still made an impact there. In the 2008 Draft, 232 other players were drafted before him. He was released by the Seahawks, his first team, just weeks after posting over 200 combined yards in a preseason game. Forsett bounced around the league as a backup with four more teams, before coming to Baltimore. Many expected him to be the third back on the Ravens roster, yet he was thrust into the starting role unexpectedly, and was one of the best backs in the league. If anyone knows how to face adversity, it's Justin Forsett.
"I’ve faced a lot of adversity and have had many obstacles that I had to overcome. You are going to get knocked down, but you have to have the ability to get up. Time and time I’ve had friends who let the politics of the game or relationships with coaches and things like that interfere with them making a living and continuing their NFL careers. I didn’t want that to be the case for me. I wasn’t going to let my position or my role on the team stop me from fighting or getting what I wanted." - Justin Forsett
This was the focus of his message to his year's rookie class, Forsett was a featured speaker at this year's Rookie Symposium, an annual meeting of all NFL rookies, that "is designed to help rookies prepare for life as professional players in advance of their first NFL training camp." Forsett offers a unique perspective, as he went from a seventh-round selection, to superstar seemingly overnight. His success can be seen as a 'beacon of hope' for other rookies who weren't selected very high. Forsett's message to the rookies was to "stay hungry" and "not only to control what you can control, but excel at what you can control." Justin Forsett is a living example of what can be possible if you continue to work, never lose hope, and "stay hungry".
"Play with purpose and live with purpose. At the end of the day, this is a game. People are going to forget your stats and your touchdowns, so try to go out everyday and live in such a way that people remember your legacy and remember who you are. Affect people in a positive way in your community and in the relationships with your family and coaches that will stand the test of time." - Justin Forsett
The Ravens are certainly lucky to have a great player, and a great guy off the field, like Forsett. I hope that his inspiring, yet very true words got through to the young rookies. Even those of us not on the girdiron, working boring office jobs, can take a page from Forsett.
If you'd like to read more from his speech, you can do so here, on Justin's blog.