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Last year, Le’Ron McClain went to the Pro Bowl as the Ravens’ leading rusher when he boasted 232 carries for 902 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He’s repeating the Pro Bowl appearance this year, only this time it’s as the Ravens’ lead blocker.
Moving back into a traditional fullback role hasn’t diminished McClain’s value to the Ravens at all. One simply has to look at running back Ray Rice’s 1,269 yards on the ground to see that McClain is doing his job clearing out defenders.
“He’s done a great job,” said quarterback Joe Flacco. “He’s a fullback, and he does a great job of blocking and running the ball. He still carries the ball a little bit, and when he’s asked to do that, he does a great job of doing it. But more importantly, he pass protects well, and he leads up in the hole for Ray.”
McClain is averaging 3.9 yards per attempt, running the football 45 times for 175 yards and two scores.
A main reason McClain, a fourth-round draft pick in 2007, got so many touches in 2008 was because of the presence of Lorenzo Neal, one of the best fullbacks to ever play the game.
Without Neal, McClain has reverted back to his punishing role, and others have noticed how integral he is to the NFL’s seventh-rated rushing attack.
McClain led the fan vote, which makes up one-third of the Pro Bowl tally, by a landslide.
“Le’Ron’s a fullback,” head coach John Harbaugh explained. “Last year we had another fullback on the roster, which put him in a two-back situation more often carrying the ball, but he still carried the ball quite a bit. But he’s demonstrated that he can be a real blocker, too, in this league.
“He’s had games that he’s been better than other games, but he’s had some really good games – blocking – and he carries the ball well. So, he’s a complete fullback, and that’s probably what they recognized.”