It was a long, frustrating season for Ravens fullback Vonta Leach, whose role was drastically reduced after he was cut and re-signed in the offseason.
Re-signed to a two-year, $3.75 million contract that included a $1.16 million signing bonus after being cut in June, the Pro Bowl alternate blocker averaged only 13.1 snaps per game this season. Leach played just four snaps during the Ravens' 34-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in the final game of the season at Paul Brown Stadium.
As the Ravens transitioned into more of a three-wide receiver offense out of the shotgun formation during the second half of the season, opportunities for Leach out of the I-formation became nearly nonexistent as he typically would play just four to five snaps per game.
Now, Leach said he plans to sit down with Ravens coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome to discuss if it makes any sense for him to remain with the organization going forward.
"I'm going to sit down with them over the next couple of days," Leach said today as Ravens players cleaned out their lockers. "Obviously, I wasn't in the offense a whole lot this year. A lot of factors factored into that. I think I can still play in this game. I still got a lot of good tread on my tires. ...
"It was very frustrating. At the same time, I was here and ready to go whenever they needed me. It's just a part of the business. When a team changes their scheme and what they do, you just have to roll with it."
Leach said that he's not opposed to returning, but it would have to come with the understanding that there's a defined role for him that's larger than the cameo appearances he made this season.
"If they had a role for me, ideally, I want to be here," Leach said. "I want to be back, but you know I understand this is a business. ...
"It is tough for a fullback. There are still some teams that use a fullback, and I think I can play probably another one or two years."
Leach is due a $1.75 million nonguaranteed base salary in 2014 and has a salary-cap figure of $2.33 million. He was asked why the Ravens brought him back if they didn't have a plan to use him as much as they did in the past.
"It always crosses your mind," he said. "You just got to understand sometimes stuff changes, and you got to roll with the change."
The Ravens struggled to run the football, finishing 30th in rushing offense, with just 1,328 yards gained, an average of 3.1 yards per carry and seven touchdown runs. Three-time Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice's production plummeted to 660 rushing yards, his lowest total since becoming a full-time starter in 2009.
"I wouldn't say necessarily one thing went wrong," Leach said. "There's times when the running backs and the offensive line weren't on the same page. Other times, it just wasn't working. We have to go back and look at what went wrong."