Ravens add all-pro Leach after lockout but many familiar faces gone
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - Ray Rice was so elated over the prospect of running behind All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach, he broke out in song.
"I'm so excited," Rice sang Monday, delving into the classic Pointer Sisters tune.
The addition of Leach is the latest in a series of moves over the past seven days that have left the Baltimore Ravens almost unrecognizable. Baltimore launched its first full week of practice Monday without longtime fixtures Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Le'Ron McClain and Willis McGahee.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chris Chester and Donte' Stallworth were gone, too, from a unit that averaged 22.3 points per game last season.
"This is definitely a different offense," wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "We made some moves, let a couple guys go. We will miss those guys, because when you spend that much time with guys you've been in the fire with, you build a relationship. But we all know this is a business. So it's next man up."
The defense is also changed. Nose guard Kelly Gregg and cornerbacks Dawan Landry, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington have all signed with other teams.
The overhaul came as a result of the reintroduction of the salary cap and a whirlwind free agent signing period that began last week, shortly after the end of the NFL lockout.
"It's just the way it is," coach John Harbaugh said. "Our goal is to handle it better than anybody else."
If Baltimore can't adjust, its run of three straight playoff appearances could be jeopardy.
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