OWINGS MILLS, Md. (WJZ) — Brendon Ayanbadejo used social media to say goodbye, thanking the Ravens and fans for what he calls an amazing ride.
His ride lasted for five years in Baltimore. Ayanbadejo was a linebacker and special teams captain for the Ravens. Now 36, his release from the team will mean the Ravens’ six oldest players from the Super Bowl team will all be gone.
Thursday afternoon, Ayanbadejo assured his fans via Twitter that he’ll always be a Raven.
He Tweeted: “What’s all this nonsense about me not being a Raven any more? I will forever be a Raven & walk with Baltimore as the 1 true champion!”
The Ravens free up about $800,000 in salary cap room by releasing him.
“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,” said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. “He was one of the best special teamers in the league, but he was also a valued member of our defense, especially in our sub (substitute) packages. He became a leader for us, and the door may not be closed to bring him back to help us again.”
“Brendon was the first player we signed when we arrived in 2008, and he went to the Pro Bowl again that season,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “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.”
In 2012, Ayanbadejo posted a career-high 30 total tackles from scrimmage, adding one sack, one pass defensed and a team-high 14 special teams stops in 16 contests (three starts). In four playoff games this past season, Ayanbadejo recorded two solo tackles.
The 6’1″, 225-pounder also spent time with Chicago (2005-07) and Miami (2003-04). Ayanbadejo originally entered the NFL with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent in 1999.