Brendon Ayanbadejo became a staple of the Ravens’ special teams, the player most commonly disrupting a return or bursting through for a tackle.
And now he’ll be doing it elsewhere.
The Ravens have released Ayanbadejo after five years with the club, according to multiple outlets.
The 36-year-old played 62 of his 142 career games with Baltimore, and tweeted his farewell to the team this evening:
“I would like to thank the city of Baltimore and the Ravens organization for an amazing ride. We will forever be united as champions!”
The move provides the Ravens with more than $800,000 in salary cap savings, but subtracts a valuable but aging member of the club. While his special teams contributions were critical, Ayanbadejo also performed well at linebacker when filling in for injured players. He made a career-high 43 tackles in 16 games this season.
Update: The Ravens made Ayanbadejo’s release official this afternoon.
The 10-year NFL veteran and three-time Pro Bowler (and three-time alternate) posted 83 tackles (56 solo), 4.5 sacks, four passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery during his time with Baltimore.
He led or shared the team lead in special teams tackles (187 career) in seven of his 10 seasons.
“As a team, we place a high value on special teams, and Brendon was one of our top performers in that area for the last five seasons,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “He was one of the best special teamers in the league, but he was also a valued member of our defense, especially in our (substitute) packages. He became a leader for us, and the door may not be closed to bring him back to help us again.”
Coach John Harbaugh added praise for Ayanbadejo.
“Brendon was the first player we signed when we arrived in 2008, and he went to the Pro Bowl again that season,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “We considered him one of the foundations of our team, and he gave me sound counsel as one of our team leaders. He was a tremendous contributor to our success, both on (special) teams and for our defense over the last five seasons, including our Super Bowl two months ago. And, he was a pleasure to have on our team. We’ll stay in contact, I hope, but I’ll miss our regular conversations.”