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Justin Forsett: Always Be the Exception

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

We are fortunate enough to have former NFL running back Justin Forsett join us on Pro Mindset Podcast® to discuss how he succeeded even though coaches and scouts doubted him. Forsett started his NFL career as a seventh round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2008. He went on to play for nine seasons for seven NFL teams including the Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, and Denver Broncos.

Forsett said this when he retired, "Scouts measured my height and said I was too short. They measured my 40-yard dash and said I was too slow. They looked at my

build and said I wouldn't last. But they couldn't measure my heart, my faith and my perseverance." Forsett, from the very beginning, knew that in order to overcome the insurmountable odds, he would have to work ten times harder than everybody else. Forsett said, “I had a huge chip on my shoulder going into the seventh round, still in this position where I've felt undervalued and under appreciated.” 

The main reason why Forsett had so many doubters is because of his size and perceived athletic ability. Forsett himself will agree that there are plenty of people who are stronger, faster, and taller than himself, but he always put in the extra work and always did what was best for the team. Forsett said, “I just had that grind mentality. I was going to get stuff done and I was going to make people better around me. So that meant me just being smarter, knowing my place inside and out, knowing not only what my job is, but the other guys around me, what their job was.” Justin always prepared for a moment that he hoped would someday come, so that when it did, he was prepared. He would stay late after practice and talk to the special teams coach because he knew that was the best way to get playing time. 

Forsett wrapped up the discussion with this, “I always felt like I was an underdog and I was going to make sure that I had that chip on my shoulder and I actually used that as fuel to help me reach my goals.”

Craig and Justin switch topics to Justin’s college career at Cal Berkeley. First they discuss one of Forsett’s teammates, Aaron Rodgers. Forsett praises Rodgers for his

work ethic and his professionalism. Forsett felt like it was a miracle that he went into Cal Berkeley and he felt a little out of place because of it. Rodgers was able to make Forsett feel comfortable and feel like he belonged. Justin told a story about how he was on the special teams unit and had a kick return inside the 20-yard line with almost no time left in the game. The team was able to kick a field goal and Cal Berkeley won the game thanks to Forsett’s return. Rodgers went up to Forsett after the game to congratulate him, thank him, and celebrate with him. Forsett mentions that he has had numerous good teammates over the years including Terrell Suggs and Marshawn Lynch. He praised both of their talent, leadership, and amazing attitude. 

It took Forsett’s seventh year in the NFL to have his breakout season. At age 29 Forsett rushed 1,300 yards and 8 touchdowns with the Ravens. Finally he felt at peace in Baltimore. On other teams he always felt like he had no support and that they would never give him a chance. Baltimore was the first team to really give him a chance to show what he was made of. Forsett took this chance and ran with it. He stayed in peak shape so that he would be able to take the majority of snaps. He knew that if he were to get hurt he might not get his job back so he kept his body healthy and well rested in order to stay on the field. 

Even before the success Forsett had in Baltimore, he decided that whatever happened, he would achieve success. Whether that be on the field, through a business, or through his parenting, he would be a success. Forsett said, “I'm gonna try to be an all-pro running back. If not, I'm gonna try to be an all-pro businessman. I'm gonna work on being an all-pro husband and all-pro father.”

The discussion transitions to what Forsett believes makes championship teams. As someone who has been on so many NFL teams, Forsett has a solid idea of how teams

operate and what builds success. Justin says that leadership comes from within. He believes that communication and learning tools were common traits of winning teams and that common traits of losing teams were lack of accountability and selfishness. Justin ran into a lot of teammates who were purely there to get their check and leave. You have to have a good team environment in order to truly flourish. You have to have a belief in both you and your teammates in order to put your best effort in.  

Forsett always believed in himself even when nobody would. He always felt like he belonged but just needed one chance to really excel. But, he also acknowledged that it is normal for people to doubt you. Forsett said, “If you can't handle the pressure of people doubting you or underestimating you, then you are in the wrong game.” 

Justin Forsett was a NFL player that had every obstacle in his way and still overcame. His Pro Mindset and perseverance are what makes him so special and such a good role model for aspiring athletes and entrepreneurs. 

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