The Baltimore Ravens confirmed that linebacker and special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo has been released from his contract.
Ayanbadejo tweeted the news on Wednesday before the Ravens confirmed it with a press release.
"Brendon was the first player we signed when we arrived in 2008, and he went to the Pro Bowl again that season," 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."
Ayanbadejo, a 10-year veteran, played the last five seasons with the Ravens. He tallied 83 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, four pass deflections, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
By releasing Ayanbadejo, the Ravens save $807,000 against the cap for the 2013 season. Though he's currently not with the organization, general manager Ozzie Newsome left the door open for a potential return.
"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," Newsome stated. "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."