Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale fired after 10 seasons with team

A surprising NFL coach hit the free-agent market as teams are scrambling to fill positions. Baltimore fired Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale after 10 seasons.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed the news Friday. In a statement, Harbaugh said he and Martindale "agreed to move forward in different directions."

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Martindale was fired with one year remaining on his contract, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

After commending Martindale's work, Harbaugh said it was time for Martindale to "pursue other opportunities."

Martindale, 58, joined the Ravens as an inside linebackers coach in 2012. He took over as linebackers coach in 2016. Following the 2017 NFL season, Martindale was elevated to defensive coordinator. The Ravens ranked second in points against in 2018, third in points against in 2019 and second in points against in 2020.

Ravens defense hit hard by injuries in 2021

Injuries prevented the Ravens from putting up elite numbers in 2021. The team dropped to 19th in points against after losing Marcus Peters for the entire season due to an ACL tear. The team also lost safety DeShon Elliott, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, linebacker L.J. Fort and defensive end Derek Wolfe to injuries as the season progressed. Fort and Wolfe played in 14 games, Humphrey played in 12 games and Elliott played in six games.

Prior to joining the Ravens, Martindale spent time with both the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. He has 17 years of coaching experience in the NFL, all on the defensive side of the ball.

Don Martindale with the Ravens.
Wink Martindale will pursue other opportunities after leaving the Ravens. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)