Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC North [Print without images]

Friday, April 5, 2013
Ravens didn't cut Ayanbadejo over views

By Jamison Hensley

Brendon Ayanbadejo created headlines Thursday night when he told Newsday that he thinks his outspoken advocacy was one of the reasons the Baltimore Ravens cut him.

Did the Ravens like the fact that Ayanbadejo took such a public stance on a hot-button issue like same-sex marriage? Probably not. Was that a reason why Baltimore released him? It definitely wasn't the leading one.

Ayanbadejo attempted to squelch this story by saying on Twitter that he was misquoted in the Newsday article:

Dick Cass and the @ravens had my back all year. Why would I say I was cut cuz my views? Makes no sense.

— Brendon Ayanbadejo (@brendon310) April 5, 2013

What makes more sense is the Ravens cut Ayanbadejo over his age (he turns 37 at the start of the season), declining play (he didn't make a special-teams tackle in four postseason games) and his salary (he was scheduled to make $940,000 this season).

The Ravens never criticized Ayanbadejo for using his stature as an NFL player to weigh in on a controversial issue. Ayanbadejo was actually part of coach John Harbaugh's leadership council which helped make decisions on the team's practice schedule and routine.

"He was a pleasure to have on our team," Harbaugh said in a statement, which was released before Ayanbadejo spoke to Newsday. "We’ll stay in contact, I hope, but I’ll miss our regular conversations.”

The Ravens also haven't ruled out re-signing Ayanbadejo. "The door may not be closed to bring him back to help us again," general manager Ozzie Newsome said Thursday.