Originally written on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 6/1/12
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Vonta Leach is a thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent man in the prime of his life. He is also the best damn blocking fullback in the NFL.


Vonta Leach's peers voted him the overall 45th best player in the 2012 NFLN's "Top 100" poll...

It will be interesting to see if any blocking fullback besides Leach shows up in the rest of the NFLN's remaining "Top 100 Players" list to be revealed over coming weeks.

Nice to see Leach get this kind of recognition. And the good news ends what amounted to a pretty unremarkable 2nd week of OTA's at the Castle in Owings Mills...

“I’m humbled to be on the list with a league full of great players no matter where I was ranked,” Leach tweeted after his ranking was revealed this past Wednesday night. The nine-year veteran employs a throw-back style that isn’t easily found in the NFL these days.

“He reminds me of the Lorenzo Neals of the day, those 1990s/80s fullbacks that were just big, raw, mauler-type guys that have no neck, just head and shoulders,” said Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma of Leach. “They are going one way.” A former Houston Texan, Leach was brought to the Ravens in 2011, making running back Ray Rice a very happy man. But as can be seen in the network’s video package of Leach, it took some time for Rice to adjust and learn how to follow his Pro Bowl fullback.

Ray Lewis found Rice on the sidelines during the season-finale in Cincinnati, encouraging him to trust and follow Leach. “We’re too great. Forty-four is your Pro Bowl fullback. That’s your glory,” Lewis told Rice. “Follow him. Make somebody come through him, baby boy, to get you. Don’t do it by yourself.”

Ray Rice got the message, churning out 1,364 rushing yards in 16 games, good for the second most in the league last season. Joe Flacco is the only other Raven to make the list so far, coming in at No. 74. Expect some more big Ravens names to show up in the NFLN Top 40.

Meanwhile, various reports indicated the attendance in Week 2 of Ravens organized team activities (OTAs) was much lighter than Week 1. While veteran center Matt Birk returned after missing last week, several other veterans that were present last week took Week 2 off, including Jimmy Smith, Marshal Yanda, Pernell McPhee, Bernard Pollard and Leach.

A total of 20 were reportedly missing for various reasons. There were also many starters who did take part, including Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith, Jameel McClain, Sam Koch, Billy Cundiff, Lardarius Webb, Terrence Cody, Michael Oher, Ed Dickson, Art Jones, Courtney Upshaw and Paul Kruger.

No worries for Ravens fans...these are voluntary OTA's, right? Well, not exactly--a lot of players have attendance at these "voluntary" OTA's as a condition of receiving workout bonuses and other roster compensations. Of course you'd like to see full attendance as a coach or fan, but the reality is these are the last few days of freedom for players before the mandatory OTA's--- and only weeks after that before training camp starts.

Sometimes a Raven just got to fly free...

 

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