Le'Ron McClain was invited to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2009 as a fullback, but the yards and touchdowns he piled up when he wasn’t blocking for Ray Rice or Willis McGahee played a big role in getting him to two straight Pro Bowls. Last season was up and down for McClain, though, and it could be his last with the Ravens.
"Every time I go to Baltimore, I think about it," McClain, who is expected to be an unrestricted free agent when the lockout ends, told Jamison Hensley this week. "I think it might be the last few days I'm here."
He isn’t posting “McClain 4 RB” onto his Twitter feed anymore, but when the bruising back gets on the free agent market, count on him campaigning for more carries to whichever teams are interested in his services.
The Ravens are expected to be one of those teams, especially if they cut Willis McGahee. But as Hensley wrote Thursday, they will likely have to guarantee McClain more carries to keep him happy.
McClain had 902 yards on 232 carries -- that’s 3.9 yards per carry -- and scored 10 touchdowns when the Ravens went to the AFC title game in 2008. But he has gotten just 74 carries since. "I had my game put in a box for the past three years because I couldn't show too much," he told Hensley. "I want to get my chance. Hopefully it's with the Ravens. If not, I'm prepared for the transformation."
I wrote a feature on McClain last year when I worked for b free daily (unfortunately all my old stuff has disappeared from their site or I would link up to it), but one coach’s take on McClain’s hunger for more carries was that McClain is one of the NFL’s best blocking fullbacks, and it was in the best interest of the Ravens to have him plowing open running lanes for Rice and McGahee.
But that could be a different story when McGahee is released, as Mike Preston reported months ago. The team could sign McClain to do a little bit of everything and bring in a willing blocker.
Would you be comfortable with McClain as the team’s backup running back? Rice is short but jacked. The pint-sized powerhouse hasn’t shown signs of fatigue. But he has touched the ball 702 times the past two seasons, and recent history has shown that most running backs can’t withstand that kind of pounding for long.
If Rice goes down, will McClain be able to duplicate the success he had three seasons ago?
It seems fans have mixed reactions on McClain, so I’m curious to see what you guys think about the Ravens bringing him back.
Your turn: Should the Ravens bring back Le'Ron McClain, and if so, what should his role be in 2011?Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun