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Owings Mills, MD (Sports Network) - The Baltimore Ravens released linebacker and special teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo, general manager Ozzie Newsome announced on Thursday.

Ayanbadejo, 36, had 43 total tackles, with a career-high 30 from scrimmage, one sack and one pass defensed in 16 games last season.

"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," said Newsome. "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."

Over 62 games with Baltimore, Ayanbadejo recorded 83 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks, four passes defensed, one interception and one forced fumble.

"Brendon was the first player we signed when we arrived in 2008, and he went to the Pro Bowl again that season," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "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."

A three-time special teams Pro Bowler from 2006-08, Ayanbadejo has also played for Miami (2003-04) and Chicago (2005-07).