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Ozzie Newsome needs to add a veteran backup running back for Ravens

General manager Ozzie Newsome has a knack for adding a veteran castoff just before the start of the regular season, and the best bet this year is that it will be a running back.

The Baltimore Ravens need to find an experienced backup to Justin Forsett after Lorenzo Taliaferro suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament and rookie fourth-round pick Buck Allen struggled the last two preseason games.

Baltimore's reported interest in Buffalo Bills free agent Fred Jackson last week indicates a level of concern at running back, although it looks like he's eventually going to sign with the Seattle Seahawks at some point. Some veteran running backs who could get released Saturday include Jacksonville's Toby Gerhart and San Diego's Donald Brown.

The top running back currently in free agency is Pierre Thomas, and anyone who suggests Ray Rice wasn't listening to owner Steve Bisciotti last year. A good fit would be a reunion with Tampa Bay's Bobby Rainey, but most believe he's not in danger of getting cut.

The Ravens have to get a more proven insurance policy, especially because they're one injury away from starting Allen, who has shown no signs of being ready. He fumbled before crossing the goal line last week, and he averaged a lowly 2.5 yards per carry (88 yards on 35 carries) in the preseason.

The other option is turning to Terrence Magee, who has turned heads by how hard he runs with the ball. But it's a gamble for a playoff contender to go with an undrafted rookie as the primary backup.

It's unknown how long the Ravens will need a proven backup. Taliaferro is out multiple weeks with a right knee injury, and no one knows how long he'll hold up when he returns. He suffered a season-ending foot injury last December.

The Ravens know how important it is to have depth at running back. Ever since Baltimore failed to have a solid backup plan when Jamal Lewis went down in 2001, Newsome has made sure the Ravens have had good depth whether it's been Chester Taylor, Willis McGahee or Ricky Williams.

Baltimore has some good, promising young running backs. The Ravens just need to get someone who can step into the backup role right now. Given Newsome's track record, no one should be surprised if he finds one in the coming days.