This one hurts a bit.
In an offseason that has seen veteran after veteran walk away from Baltimore, This one has had more effect on me than any other move. The only exception being maybe Lewis retiring, but with Lewis, like with Reed, I felt it was time and was prepared for the separation. With Leach, I just wanted more time.
I understand that the Ravens offense is evolving. I understand that they don’t really need him this year(they certainly dont need a 4.5 million cap hit for a guy who only plays about 50% of the snaps). I understand that in the Jim Caldwell offense, they dont really need a fullback like Vonta. I get all of that. I am not sad because of the strategic and physical advantage that Leach brings to the table. I just hate to see a good player and a good guy leave the building.
At the end of the day you always have to remember that football is a business. That is the Reason that Ed Reed, Leach and Anquan boldin are all playing in different uniforms. Its the reason Dannell Ellerbe won’t be in Purple. Its the reason Todd Heap finished his career in Pheonix and the reason Derrick Mason retired in Houston. Sometimes it just sucks.
Vonta is not only a great player and person but, (bold statement here) he is the toughest Raven to ever lace up. That isnt a slight on Ravens tough guys like Lewis, Boulware, Yanda and others, It is just a glowing praise of one of the toughest football players I have ever seen in any era. If Vonta was born 15 years earlier, he would be a super star, but unfortunately for him he finds him self on the rapidly melting iceberg that is the fullback position. The position is dying faster than any position I can recall in any sport. It has to be tough for Leach. There are only about 5 teams in the league that legitimately use a fullback and one of them just cut him.
The thing that brings me comfort is that all these guys who have left have left fairly amicable. At the end of the day they all acomplished what they came here to do. What they were brought here to do. They finished the season as the best team in football and they all have some new bling to show for it. Winning the big one is the only reason(aside from money) to play a game like this. And they all did that.
Ozzie Newsome said today that he would be interested in bringing Leach back at a smaller price tag, but I kind of doubt he lasts that long. I would guess that Cleveland, Miami or Houston will have him signed by the end of the week, those are the teams I would list as the favorites if i had to guess.
Thanks for the memories Vonta, You will be missed, good luck in your future endeavors.