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Ravens' Buck Allen won't be 'banished' for fumbling

BALTIMORE --Rookie running back Buck Allen learned the harsh consequences of fumbling for the second straight week for the Baltimore Ravens.

After his costly turnover was returned by the Kansas City Chiefs for a touchdown in the first quarter, Allen was benched for the final 47 minutes, 49 seconds of the game. The Ravens went with Terrance West and Terrence Magee at running back the rest of the game.

Will Allen remain on the sideline for the remainder of the season, or will he get a chance to redeem himself next Sunday?

"It probably won’t carry over, but you play the best players," coach John Harbaugh said. "At running back, the best players don’t fumble. Fumbling – it is what it is. You have to hold onto the football. He knows that. I have a lot of love and respect for Buck. No way is Buck going to be banished, by any stretch."

Allen had gone his first 131 touches in the NFL without fumbling. After he coughed the ball up a week ago against Seattle, Harbaugh said he didn't need to talk to Allen because he didn't have a history of fumbling.

But ball security was a problem for Allen in the past. He fumbled six times in two seasons at USC, and he lost the ball near the goal line in the preseason for Baltimore.

So, when Allen fumbled for the second time in seven touches, he was removed from the game. Allen watched the Ravens' last 52 offensive plays from the sideline.

"It hurt," Allen said. "It hurt to sit on the sideline to see your team out there playing. That shouldn’t happen and I’ve just got to go out there and come back harder the next week.”

Fumbling has led to fewer carries for Ravens rookie running backs in the past. In 2008, Ray Rice watched his fumble get returned for a touchdown by the Cincinnati Bengals. He didn't get more than eight carries over the next five games.

Last season, Lorenzo Taliaferro fumbled against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who converted the turnover into a touchdown. Taliaferro received three carries over the next three games.

The Ravens, though, are in an evaluation mode right now after being eliminated from the playoffs a week ago. Allen showed promise in his first two starts after Justin Forsett broke his arm, and he accounted for 45 percent of the Ravens' offense in Miami on Dec. 6.

"He has done a lot for us. He has a great future for us," Harbaugh said. "But, you have to hold onto the football. That football belongs to everybody in the organization, every fan, everybody that cares about the Ravens, and it’s a precious commodity. You don’t win football games when you turn the ball over. If any team this year should understand that, it’s the Baltimore Ravens. Until we learn that lesson – we can play as hard as we want, we can be as physical as we want, we can be as tough as we want, we can play some pretty darn good football – but, if you turn the ball over, you’re not going to win.”