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Ravens release Ayanbadejo, open to return

The SportsXchange

Veteran linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was released by the Baltimore Ravens, but general manager Ozzie Newsome propped the door open for a potential reunion.

"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 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 sub (substitute) packages. He became a leader for us, and the door may not be closed to bring him back to help us again."

The 10-year veteran is primarily a special teams player. He turns 37 before the start of next season. He had 30 tackles on defense in 2012.

"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," coach John Harbaugh said.

His minimum salary given his total years of NFL service will be more than $900,000 next season. Because he doesn't play in the base defense, Ayanbadejo might be pressed to find work in a role that typically is filled by younger and much cheaper backup defensive players.

He has played for the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent from UCLA.

Ayandadejo might be best known for his support of same-sex marriage, a campaign he has taken public along with Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.
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