Fullbacks get no love… unless you live in Baltimore, Maryland. In that case, we celebrate fullbacks, and there’s no one more beloved than Vonta Leach.
It’s a damn shame that the modern fullback is so underutilized and undervalued. Fullbacks in the 60s and 70s were what running backs are today. Hall of Farmers like Franco Harris and Jim Brown are actually categorized as fullbacks. So throwing Vonta Leach into the conversation for greatest fullback of all-time seems incredibly stupid…
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However, what fans need is context. Fans need to realize that Vonta Leach was almost never asked to run the ball. Hell, he hardly had a plethora of opportunities to catch the ball. Still, Vonta Leach never complained. Instead, he suited up and did what he did best: punish defenders.
In today’s game, the use of the fullback is to pave the way for the running backs to run through. However, so few teams will employ a fullback due to the pass-heavy attack that most teams are accustomed to these days. Players like Vonta Leach have become a rarity, and there are few and far between in terms of talent.
Leach was never a production machine, as evident by his eight career touchdowns. But in his prime, Leach massacred defenses. Ask future Hall of Fame linebacker Patrick Willis what it’s like to go up against Leach with a full head of steam!
Vonta Leach was a man amongst boys. The dude took pleasure in obliterating his opposition with a big grin on his face. Even before he came to Baltimore, Leach was paving the way for studs like Jamaal Charles in Kansas City and Arian Foster in Houston. He continued his stretch of blocking for elite running backs in ray Rice, but it was in Baltimore that he found his home.
In his 11-year career (three seasons with the Ravens), Leach earned three straight Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro nods from 2010-2012. Leach spent 2011-2013 in Baltimore, making those years undoubtedly his prime.
Ironically, Leach would retire after his three seasons with the Ravens, but he truly went out on top. Not only was he nationally recognized as the best at his position, but he won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens. It truly was a perfect way to cap off such an overlooked, but entirely successful career in the NFL.
The stats for Vonta Leach may be nowhere to be found, but his impact (both figuratively and literally) left a massive mark on the NFL. Leach was truly the las of his breed, making him truly one of a kind. Leach should have a legitimate Hall of Fame argument, although he’ll likely never receive one. But, to Ravens Flock, h’s the best to ever do it! Thank you, Vonta Leach. You’ll never be overlooked in Charm City and we owe you our gratitude and love for everything you gave us!