- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Strong safety Bernard Pollard told ESPN's Josina Anderson that he has signed with the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, which officially makes him the fifth defensive starter from the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl team to either retire or sign elsewhere.
Pollard, 28, was never the fastest defender or an asset in pass coverage. But Pollard could hit. He was fearless and intimidating. Pollard was the physical presence in the secondary, and his forced fumble in the AFC title game was key to getting the Ravens to New Orleans.
The Ravens have designated Pollard a June 1 cut, which means they'll receive an additional $2 million in salary-cap space after that date.
When asked if it was difficult to leave Baltimore, Pollard said: "Oh wow, I can't say enough about Baltimore. They were great to me and my family. I will cherish that experience and the relationships I built with the people there for the rest of my life."
If you're not keeping track at home, the Ravens have lost five of their top six tacklers from last season. The only returning one is linebacker Jameel McClain, who has yet to be cleared from a spinal cord injury.
In total, five starters on defense won't return: Pollard, Lewis (retired), safety Ed Reed (Houston), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (Miami) and cornerback Cary Williams (Philadelphia). The Ravens' leader in sacks, Paul Kruger, also signed with Cleveland.
When combining all of their stats, the Ravens have lost 419 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 10 interceptions, two forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.