Ravens to release Vonta Leach, Jameel McClain (moves official)

The Ravens plan to release fullback Vonta Leach and linebacker Jameel McClain, according to The Sun, which also reports the team hopes to re-sign McClain.

The moves will save Baltimore $4.953 million against the cap with McClain saving $3.2 million and Leach saving $1.753 million. That brings the Ravens’ total available cap space to $27.132 million.

Releasing the 32-year-old Leach was expected, as his role diminished early last season with the running game unable to get off the ground. Leach’s role slipped all the way to the point where he played more than 12 offensive snaps once in the Ravens’ last 10 games.

McClain, 28, saves the Ravens a decent amount of money following a solid 2013 season where he made 52 tackles in 10 games. That came upon returning from a career-threatening bruised spine that sideline him for 10 months.

Update: The Ravens have made the releases official, putting out statements about the decisions to part with Leach and McClain.

“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,” general manager Ozzie Newsome stated. “Vonta proved to be one of the best fullbacks in the league, plus he added leadership and toughness to our offense. 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.

“There could come a point later on when we would consider bringing back Vonta and Jameel. They are our types of players.”

Coach John Harbaugh praised the contributions of Leach.

“He’s the big, physical fullback you like to have when you pound the ball and are on special teams,” Harbaugh said in the statement. “And, who doesn’t like Vonta? He’s fun to be around, and his personality helped lift the energy at a lot of practices. People know we like to be physically dominating, and when we did that in recent years, Vonta was a big part of that.”

McClain’s rise to starter and return from his major injury are among the things that struck Harbaugh about the six-year veteran.

“There is so much to like about Jameel, the player and the person,” Harbaugh added. “He’s a true leader, and his story from rookie free agent to NFL starter is one of the best in the league. You give him so much credit for finding a way to become the player he is. He’s one of those guys 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.

“Both of these men helped the Ravens win a lot of games and the Super Bowl championship. We are thankful for all they gave us.”