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Ravens cut Leach, ask rookie to pave Rice's way

The SportsXchange

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens officially cut Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach on Tuesday.

The Super Bowl champions released Leach after they were unsuccessful in attempts to restructure his contract to lower a $4.33 million salary-cap figure for 2013.

"That was weird when I heard about it," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "He's a monster. He's a great blocker, and it's just going to be weird without him. He was definitely a character on our team. He was a good teammate, and I just wish him the best of luck wherever he goes."

Hours after being cut by the Ravens, Leach was already booked for a free agent visit with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday, according to The Baltimore Sun. Leach also fielded an inquiry from the New York Giants.

Leach has been selected to the past three Pro Bowls, drawing heavy praise for how he bulldozed linebackers.

"Vonta has been as much of the heart and soul of this team as anybody since he's been here," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He's been a great leader. He's been a tremendous performer. He established the personality of our offense as a physical, hard-nosed unit over the last couple of years. I'm sure he'll do very well, and I'm sorry to see him go."

Rookie Kyle Juszczyk is now the starting fullback.

Drafted in the fourth round out of Harvard after catching 125 career passes for 1,576 yards and 22 touchdowns, Juszczyk is regarded highly for his hands and versatility.

"He's exactly where we expected him to be," Harbaugh said of Juszczyk. "He's smart, of course. He has picked it up very quickly, which you would expect. He has skills, he has ball skills, good football player."

The Ravens re-signed blocking tight end Billy Bajema to a one-year contract. Bajema played in eight games with one start last season, playing in all four playoff games.

--Pro Bowl offensive guard Marshal Yanda is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.

Yanda is expected to return by training camp.

"We expect him back by camp to some degree," Harbaugh said. "Marshal Yanda has done a great job with the rehab. He's right on schedule, probably ahead of schedule."
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