Leach: ‘I Am A Fullback’

Unlike Le’Ron McClain, new Ravens FB Vonta Leach only wants to play fullback.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Categories: 2011 Training Camp, Ryan Mink

New Ravens fullback Vonta Leach doesn’t have a campaign.

He doesn’t want more carries or more catches.

“I just like blocking and then seeing the running back sprinting for a touchdown,” Leach said. “That’s all I like doing.”

It’s a different tune at fullback this year at Ravens training camp.

Free agent Le’Ron McClain has had four standout seasons in Baltimore, including two trips to the Pro Bowl.  Last year he still took pride in his blocking duties, and executed them well, but also launched a “McClain4RB” campaign that resonated throughout the season.

This offseason, McClain took his campaign to another level, dropping weight and changing his body in a quest to become a running back like he was in 2008 when he rushed for 902 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Leach has a different outlook on his role entering 2011.

“I am a fullback,” Leach said. “That is the position that I play. No, I don’t want to be a running back. I know my job and I know my position.”

Vonta Leach On Being A Blocking Fullback
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That sentiment isn’t lost on the Ravens’ coaches.

“He’s a great blocker and he loves blocking,” Cameron said. “He has no illusions of being something other than what his gift is.”

Part of Leach’s mentality can be attributed to being a former undrafted free agent out of East Carolina who was once cut by the Green Bay Packers.

He’s played nothing other than fullback and some linebacker his entire career, making a name for himself as a hard-nosed, tough player who is more than willing to sacrifice his body to open holes for teammates.

“Undrafted, you always have a chip on your shoulder. I always knew that I could play in this league and I knew I belonged,” he said. “I’m just happy that I put myself in a position that someone wanted me.”

Leach has three career carries. He didn’t have any during last year’s Pro Bowl season.

He can catch the ball. The 6-foot, 255-pounder recorded 20 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown in 2009 and 25 catches for 108 yards and two scores in 2007.

But that isn’t the reason the Ravens had targeted him for a while, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh said Leach’s addition will add more of the Ravens’ 2008 personality, when Baltimore shoved the ball down opponent’s throats a league-high 592 times and finished fourth in rushing yards per game (148.5) with fullback Lorenzo Neal leading the way.

It’s not to say that the Ravens will run the ball that much this season. But they hope to be able to run it like that when they choose to.

Last year the Ravens were tied for 25th in the league in rushing yards per carry with 3.8.

“I’m just here to do whatever I can to help the team win,” said Leach, who later added that he’s happy to be part of the nasty Ravens-Steelers rivalry.

“The offensive line, myself, the tight ends and Ray Rice back there, we’re going to get it going.”

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