FULLBACK VONTA LEACH
(on if it has been the Ravens’ best year running the ball) “I think so. I think last year we probably were a little bit better than this year, but we’re a more balanced team. Teams don’t know right now if we’re going to run or pass the ball. So that’s what’s going on right now.”
(on if the team has talked about how the 49ers tend to win games when the opposition is forced to pass more often than run) “No we don’t talk about that. We don’t worry about them. We just have to worry about ourselves and what we do. We just have to have a balanced attack; we’ve got to be good on first down and get positive yards on first down that don’t put us in a third-and-long situation.”
(on how the Ravens managed to reach the Super Bowl despite injuries, coaching changes and adversity that they faced during the season) “We never lost belief in ourselves. Everybody in this locker room knew what we were capable of and knew that if everybody played like they were capable of, we were going to go to the Super Bowl. That was our goal from the get-go and our goal never deterred. Even when we dropped a couple of games, this was our goal—to get to the Super Bowl. We always believed.
(on if he believes the Green Bay Packers let him go due to his personal performance or their specific scheme) “Pretty sure it was more of the scheme. But, I have developed a whole lot more since my time in Green Bay. That’s where I got started. I had a good coach in Green Bay with Edgar Bennett. So, it may have sort of been the scheme, but all things happen for a reason. They cut me and when I got cut from Green Bay I’m thinking—I don’t know why. I still don’t know the reason. The game that I played against Chicago I graded at 94 percent and then got cut the next day. So you tell me.”
(on the Packers’ fullback situation since he was released) “John Kuhn does a lot for them. He lines up in the single back, he blocks at fullback for them. I guess you have to do with what you have. Kuhn’s not that dominant fullback, but he’s a guy that can do a lot when the ball is in his hands. So he’s been doing pretty good for them, but everybody doesn’t use a traditional fullback.
(on how tough it is to make it out of Rowland, North Carolina) “I mean it’s tough, but it’s not where you come from. Everybody can have dreams. I come from a smaller town, not a whole lot of people. Nobody’s ever made it to the big leagues from my town and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. That’s what my dream was. I’m living my dream.”
(on what it would mean to bring a Super Bowl ring back to his hometown) “It would mean a whole lot. To bring a Super Bowl home, that would be the ultimate thing, just to be able to bring home and be able to show them”
(on what he recalls about his time with the Houston Texans and if it was a fun experience) “My five years there was a great experience. I never had a run in with the coaches or players. (It’s) a great organization. Just when the time came for me to get some money, for me to get my piece of the pie, they just didn’t offer it to me.”
(on if it is hard to believe that he is playing in the Super Bowl after everything that has happened to him over the past few years) “It’s really not hard for me to believe. When I became a free agent, when you looked on the radar and you’ve got a team that wanted you that was a Super Bowl contender, you go, ‘Hey I’ve got a chance to be a part of that.’ That’s what I did.”
(on if he has noticed a cultural difference between the Texans and Ravens locker rooms) “I haven’t noticed any difference. I’d say there are more similarities than anything. Our front office does a lot of jobs of bringing guys in that fit the Ravens’ mode that play like the Ravens. So I guess that’s what they’ve been doing.”
(on if he still keeps track of the Texans and if he is surprised that they did not get farther) “I always keep my eyes on them. I’m always rooting for those guys, except when they’re playing us. But I always keep my eyes on them. I’ve got a lot of great friends on that team. You know we hit the streak at the right time and they were flinching at the wrong time. That’s just how the NFL is sometimes.”
(on the leadership in the Ravens locker room) “Well, we’ve got so many different leaders. You talk about Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Terrell Suggs, myself and Bernard Pollard. You’ve got so many guys that play different positions and different roles on this team, so the locker room is like an open locker room with men and leaders in it.”
(on whether he talks with other Ravens brought in from the Texans about their old team) “Oh yeah, we always talk about the struggles that we had to go through and things like that. But it’s made us the people that we are today and all three of us are having an exceptional time over here with the Baltimore Ravens.”
(on how the young players’ adaptation to the team mentality has helped the team reach the Super Bowl) “Well it’s very good. When you have guys at every position, every guy has a leader at that position. We sort of just take the young guys up under your wing, whether it’s on the field or off the field, to help them get adjusted to the NFL life and that’s sort of what we did.”