It’s not often that the Super Bowl champions will go through such a drastic change in personnel as the Baltimore Ravens have this offseason, but between players retiring, opting for free agency or just being released, the Ravens’ defense is going to look drastically different in 2013.
This week the Ravens tore another page from their 2012 championship book by releasing linebacker and special teams specialist Brendon Ayanbadejo, a 10-year veteran who had been with the Ravens since the start of the 2008 season. Ayanbadejo was selected for the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Ravens after being a two-time Pro Bowler while with the Chicago Bears.
Ayanbadejo was signed to a three-year deal by the Ravens last March, but the team has decided after just one year into the deal to cut ties, although it may not be permanently. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome seemed open to possibly re-signing the veteran, saying that the “door may not be closed.”
The Ravens could possibly be looking for a restructured and/or shorter deal to bring Ayanbadejo back.
It would seem unlikely that he’ll be brought back, however, as this move seems to be another in a series that points to a movement towards youth on the Ravens defense.
In five seasons with Baltimore, Ayanbadejo recorded 123 tackles, 4.5 sacks and recovered four fumbles, but was known primarily as a special teams player. He joins Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Danell Ellerbe, Cary Williams and Bernard Pollard as players from the 2012 defense that are no longer with the team.