The Ravens are saying goodbye to Jameel McClain and Vonta Leach to make room for $4.95 million in free agent salaries starting on March 11. Ozzie Newsome, General Manager for the Baltimore team, commented on the tough decision:
“Vonta and Jameel are two of our most important players over the last few seasons, helping us to the playoffs and giving the Ravens the Super Bowl win after the 2012 season. There could come a point later on when we would consider bringing back Vonta and Jameel. They are our types of players. Jameel is a Ravens’ success story who came to us as a rookie free agent. He changed positions from playing on the defensive line and outside to becoming a good inside linebacker and starter. People close to our team understand his commitment to being the best he can be and the leadership he gave on and off the field. Vonta proved to be one of the best fullbacks in the league, plus he added leadership and toughness to our offense.”
28-year-old Jaleel McClain has been in the NFL for six years and has always played for the Ravens. In 2010 he became an inside linebacker. He injured his spine in 2012 that could have cost him his career but was able to start 10 games in 2013. This was the last contract year, giving him a cap of over $4 million. He ended the season with a forced fumble and 52 tackles. Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh called McClain a great leader with a great back-story. “You give him so much credit for finding a way to become the player he is. He’s one of those who gets the most out of his ability. He has a lot of football left and, maybe, that could be with the Ravens down the line.”
Fullback Vonta Leach has been with Baltimore three out of his 11 years in the NFL. He saw one of his two Super Bowls with the Baltimore team as a top lead blockers in the league. He posted a collage of the team and "thanks for the memories" on Twitter after his release was announced.