With training camp around the bend, roster spots are jammed pack with camp bodies, all of which are hoping to impress enough this summer to earn a spot on an NFL roster, particularly the Ravens roster.
On the flip side of the young guns vying for roster spots are those veteran players that have yet to find a team to call home. Call them insurance polices if you will — ready to step in and assist any way they can, providing liability coverage at the position if someone catches the injury bug once the threat of contact is introduced at practices.
A player who could provide such insurance depending upon how things shape up during training camp is former Ravens Pro Bowler Le’Ron McClain who once again resides in Charm City.
The veteran free agent was released by the San Diego Chargers in March and is available for employment in 2014.
“I’ve been training hard and just doing everything I can to get ready,” McClain responded when asked if the reports were true that he’s shed almost 15 pounds this offseason.
“The call probably isn’t going to come until training camp or during training camp but I’m just trying to be in the best shape I can be in.”
Barring injury, the Ravens running back unit should consist of Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro. With Rice facing an all but certain suspension and Pierce still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, should the Ravens look for that veteran presence as insurance in the backfield for short yardage situations?
McClain certainly would fit the role if either Forsett or Taliaferro struggle this summer and is a player that could certainly be had on the cheap. As many fans remember, McClain, 29, spent four years here in Baltimore and was part of the once feared three-headed monster rushing attack that wore down opposing defenses week in and week out.
Another possible role McClain could fill depending on how things play out this summer is fullback. The Ravens have expressed confidence in second-year player Kyle Juszczyk but what if he suffers another set like he did last year during camp? While a dynamic weapon and one that could shine in Kubiak’s new offense, “Juice” isn’t your prototypical fullback.
While McClain often lobbied for more carries during his tenure in Baltimore, the former Alabama product seems willing to embrace the lead run blocker role as he did for the Bolts the past two seasons.
“My main concern is doing what I’ve been doing the last two years in San Diego and that’s playing fullback and being the best at that position.”
Chargers beat writer Michael Gehlken along with RotoWorld named McClain the top free agent lead blocker.
Obviously it will be an uphill battle for McClain, not because of his age or his lack of experience (missed one game since 2007) but the fact that the position of fullback is dying breed in the modern day NFL. But that notion doesn’t seem to deter McClain.
“Wherever I go this year and they give me an opportunity I promise you I am gonna change the way they think about me. Promise you.”