Rowland’s Leach splits with Ravens, becomes free agent

Rather than accept a reduced salary to remain with the Baltimore Ravens, fullback and Rowland, NC native Vonta Leach opted for his outright release Tuesday.

General manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome announced the transaction, which had been expected due to the tenor of negotiations.

“We’ve had lots of discussion in the past week with Vonta and his agent, and both parties agreed that it was best to terminate Vonta’s contract,” Newsome said. “He played a significant role in helping us get to the AFC Championship game in 2011 and win the Super Bowl last season. He added to our toughness and will to win, plus he provided leadership. He’s a good football player. There could be an opportunity for him to return to the Ravens once he explores the free agent market, and we could re-visit this before or during training camp.”

Leach played two seasons (2011-12) with the Ravens and was named to the Pro Bowl both years. In 2012, the Ravens scored the most points (398) and produced the second-most total yards per game (352.5) in franchise history.

Leach becomes an unrestricted free agent at a time when most teams consider their 2013 rosters mostly set. The 260-pound lead blocker previously played for the Houston Texans (2006-10), New Orleans Saints (2006) and Green Bay Packers (2004-06).

To replace Leach on the roster, the Ravens re-signed tight end Billy Bajema. He played in eight regular-season games (one start) and all four playoff contests. Bajema was used exclusively as a blocking tight end in run situations last season and didn’t record a reception.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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