Former Pirate Excelling in NFL
by Brian North

Vonta Leach has had an interesting football career. The South Robeson High School product left Rowland to play collegiately at ECU. He started as a linebacker and played as a true freshman while making his mark at special teams. By the time Leach was a junior, he was moved to the offensive side of the ball. His bank account thanks his coaches for that decision.

Leach was one of the few bright spots for the Pirates in 2003. Vonta mostly opened holes for Marvin Townes thousand yard season. But when he did carry the ball, he did it well Leach rushed for 306 yards and scored five times. He capped off his college career by being named the offensive MVP at the Blue-Gray game after he scored two touchdowns.

But Vonta went undrafted by the NFL. He didn't let that stop his professional dreams. Leach signed a free agent contract with the Packers, and after being one of the last players cut in training camp, he signed on with Green Bay's practice squad. Halfway through the 2004 season, Leach was activated and saw lots of special teams action while occasionally filling in for William Henderson at fullback.

This season Vonta was cut at the end of training camp again. But this time he was quickly re-signed by the team and has played in every game so far. In fact Leach started at fullback against the Carolina Panthers on Monday night. The affable Leach has yet to carry the ball in the NFL, but he has caught two passes this year from future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre for eight yards.

Playing at legendary Lambeau Field and with Favre has been a dream come true for Vonta. But he told the TV-12 camera's Monday night that he is no longer in awe of his position. Now that is part of the team, all that he wants to do is help Green Bay win.

Vonta is also keeping up with the Pirates. He is hoping ECU will turn things around under Skip Holtz, and he will return to Greenville whenever his schedule allows. He might not play the most glamorous position, but here is hoping one of the most friendly Pirates ever keeps his daytime job for a long time.

Brian North