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Ray Rice envisions different roles for fullbacks Juszczyk, Leach

After the Ravens drafted Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round, Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice decided to check out a few highlights.

That included watching the Senior Bowl standout and former Ivy League star haul in a few of his 125 career receptions for 1,576 yards and 22 touchdowns.

"He reminds me more of a Dennis Pitta hands type of guy," Rice said today at Calvert Hall during Ray Rice Day, his second annual free youth football clinic. "He actually can hit a few people. It's one of those things that after you get drafted and [see] how fast he adapts, I think he went to a very intelligent school, so I'm not worried about him."

As soon as the Ravens drafted Juszczyk, the immediate reaction centered on what his arrival means for the future of All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach.

Leach is entering the final year of his contract and is due a $3 million base salary and carries a $4.33 million salary-cap figure. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said after the draft that there could be a spot for both players on the Super Bowl champions' roster.

Rice has a similar take, predicting that Juszczyk and Leach can co-exist akin to how he and Bernard Pierce divide playing time at running back.

"Me and Bernard are two different backs, him and Vonta are two different fullbacks," Rice said. "I'm sure if the cookie crumbles right, I'm sure we can make it work with everybody."

Juszczyk is an accomplished receiver who played tight end and wide receiver at Harvard and is likely to have a versatile role with the Ravens that includes playing fullback, tight end and H-back. Leach is a punishing lead blocker with a reputation for bulldozing linebackers.

Juszczyk, 6 feet 1, 248 pounds, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds, bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times and has a 37-inch vertical leap with a 10-1 broad jump.

"I think that's what professional football is, you're always competing for a job," Juszczyk said during the Ravens' rookie minicamp. "Who knows? I feel like we're two different players, so there might be two different roles for us."

awilson@baltsun.com

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