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Baltimore Sun

What to do about Le'Ron McClain?

Ravens free-agent fullback Le'Ron McClain has made it no secret that he wants to be a running back -- he and I talked about that at length earlier this season -- so it's no surprise that the two-time Pro Bowl player told reporters on Monday that he doubts he'll return to Baltimore.

"If I was, I would probably have been used a little bit more this season and the past two years," he said. "It is what is. I'm over that now. Four great years in Baltimore. Now, I'm just looking forward to the future."

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McClain was the team's leading rusher in 2008, picking up 902 yards on the ground and scoring 11 total touchdowns. As far as fullbacks go, he has some of the best hands around. The problem is that he is one of the NFL's best blocking backs, which is why the Ravens left the running to Ray Rice and Willis McGahee.

It's clear that McClain will look for an opportunity to become at least a part-time ball-carrier, and count on teams that are looking for a top-notch fullback and a proven goal-line finisher to give him a look. In the right situation, McClain could have similar success to what Peyton Hillis had with the Browns in 2010.

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Right now, there aren't enough carries to go around here for McClain, so the Ravens might have to find a new fullback. But if the team decides to unload Willis McGahee and his hefty contract, they can probably find a bigger role for McClain and convince him to stick around. The Ravens just better make sure they keep any promises of an increased workload for McClain because he could become a distraction if they don't.

The taste of success McClain got in 2008 has left him craving for more carries, and he is confident he can carry the load whether it is here or elsewhere. "McClain for running back will come eventually," McClain told me back in October. "I put on for my city, that's a fact. Whenever my number's called, I'll be ready for it."

We'll find out in the next few months if McClain will be putting on for Baltimore or another city in 2011.


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