By Samuel Njoku
Vonta Leach, FB, #44
Hometown: Rowland, NC
College: East Carolina
Experience: 9 years
The Ravens acquired one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL when they drafted Ray Rice in the 2008 NFL Draft. Baltimore would need a full back to pave the way for the short RB. With the loss of Le’Ron McClain, Baltimore felt it not only needed to replace McClain, but they also needed to upgrade the position. When the Ravens signed Vonta Leach, they did so with the impression that he was the best FB in the NFL. Baltimore was right.
Vonta Leach attended college in ECU as a member of the Pirates. Like most FB’s, Leach wouldn’t create any buzz while playing in the NCAA. But even early in his career, Leach made a name for himself in the locker room for his bone jarring hits that left defenders dazed both on gameday and in practice. When Leach decided to test his mettle on a professional level, he did so knowing the path would not be an easy one.
Green Bay would sign him as an undrafted free agent and spent his first three years as a Packer. With Brett Favre at the helm, Leach didn’t get many opportunities to showcase his talents. He was released in 2006 after compiling a total of five receptions for 19 yards in his time at Green Bay. A month later, Leach signed with the Houston Texans where his career officially took off.
Leach immediately made a name for himself for his crushing blocks and ability to open holes for the Texans running backs. Next to Lorenzo Neal, at the time, Leach was the best FB in football. In 2007, Leach signed a four-year, 8 million dollar contract with the Giants as a restricted free agent. Houston was left with no choice but to match the offer. For the next four years, Leach became a fan favorite in Houston. Coupled with the emergence of Foster’s exceptional rookie season, Leach officially caught the attention of the NFL. That would include the Baltimore Ravens.
After Leach’s contract ended in 2011, Baltimore would sign Leach for three years worth 11 million dollars. Ray Rice would be the happiest player in the Ravens locker room. Ray Rice immediately tweeted upon hearing that the deal was done: “Let the fun begin.” And fun is exactly what they’ve had since Leach became a Raven.
Leach is still without a doubt the best FB in football. In a league where FB’s are becoming a dying breed, Leach has brought respect to the position. Even though the Ravens are becoming more of a passing team, Leach’s talents are an invaluable asset to the Baltimore Ravens. When the weather gets cold and the passing game struggles, Baltimore will turn to the running game to snuff the life out of the opposing defense. That’s when they’ll call Ray Rice to get the job done. And in most instances, Vonta Leach will be leading the way. When Leach runs out of the tunnel on gameday, he makes a motion of a swinging hammer. He’s signifying that every week, he plans to lay the hammer on opposing defenses.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.