Browns’ West runs one direction

Overlooked by others, Terrance West got a chance to star in Towson's backfield. Now, he'll try to make the league take notice in Cleveland.

Bradley Leeb/Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

BEREA, Ohio — His name might be West, but when Browns rookie running back Terrance West is on the field there is just one direction in which he’s focused when he has the football in his hand.

"I just have a nose for the end zone," West said. "I love scoring points. I love to help my team out. I love to win. I hate to lose. Like you said before, when I’m running the ball, I only see the goal line. I don’t see anybody else on the field. I just see me and that goal line, and let’s just get some points on the that board."

The press release after the Browns drafted him said West rushed for 2,509 yards last year at Towson State, but also scored 41 touchdowns. However, he quickly corrected the person asking the question.

"It was actually 42 touchdowns, but my team needed me and I put my team on my shoulders. I was an underdog the whole year. We were the underdogs, Towson University. I had to perform. My team depended on me so I just had to give them my all, and that was to put the points on the board. I love to score touchdowns. I’ve been doing that since Pop Warner."

West said his whole focus is getting into the end zone.

"That’s what you play the game for, to score touchdowns," he said. "When I’m running the ball, I’m looking straight for the goal line to get the ball in the end zone."

West was one of the players the Browns targeted and traded with the 49ers to get the 94th overall pick, ahead of the Ravens, in the draft to select him.

"(The Ravens) texted my agent and said they were going to take me with the 99th pick," West said. "The Browns came up and now I’m a Brown."

West is determined to show the Browns they made a wise decision.

"It means a lot that they wanted me," he said. "Now, it’s time for me to do my part. They drafted me, now it’s time to perform and give them what they want. That’s hard running and help winning some games."

West has already caught Mike Pettine’s eye. In the OTAs, West has displayed some nifty footwork despite having a bigger frame.

"Again, similar to the (Johnny) Manziel situation, he’s just learning the offense," Pettine said. "He’s already just flashed some of the things that made him special. For a big man to move the way that he moves, just some of the cuts that he’s made. He’s got dancer-type feet, but it’s in a 230-pound man."

It is anticipated that the Browns will employ West and Ben Tate in the backfield in Kyle Shanahan’s running game.

"I think in the AFC North, especially, you have to be running back by committee," Pettine said. "You’d like to have a guy that can carry most of the load, but to have the ability to alternate guys. Just like I just talked about with pass rushers, you’ve got to be able to get fresh legs out there."

West (5-9, 230) thinks he and Tate will complement each other well.

"We can be powerful," he said. "We’re both strong and physical. We make good plays out of bad plays."

West carried the ball a whopping 413 times last year at Towson, but he said he’s no worse for the wear.

"I’m good, healthy, ready to go."

West grew up in Baltimore and has been a life-long Ravens fan. He says he’s looking forward to playing the team he followed as a kid at least twice a year, idolizing former Raven and Browns running back Jamal Lewis.

"I’m looking forward to it," he said. "Playing in my hometown, I’m going to come out and play."

West says he’s undaunted coming to the NFL from a smaller school.

"Football is football," he said. "Some of the greatest players that played the game came from small schools. It’s all about how bad you want it."

West said he plays with a chip on his shoulder and has been overlooked ever since high school, having no scholarship offers despite rushing for over 6,000 yards in high school.

"Coming out of high school, I was cleared and everything was good," he said. "I just got overlooked. They had guys already signed. I was at Ft. Union (in high school) with Carlos Hyde.

"I just got overlooked," he said. "I got out and got a job and started working at a shoe store. I tried to walk on at Maryland and the coach got fired and then I tried to walk on at Morgan state and they said the paperwork didn’t go through. Then I walked on at Towson State and the rest is history."