In the wake of Brendon Ayanbadejo's arrival in Baltimore earlier this week, BR.com took a few minutes to tap Vaughn McClure, Chicago Bears beat writer for the *Chicago Tribune, to find out a little more about the Ravens' new linebacker and special teams ace. *
BR.com: You've known Brendon for a while. What is his personality like off the field?
McClure: "Well, I can say this: There were three guys that the media rushed to when they needed quotes. Those were Tommie Harris, Alex Brown and Brendon Ayanbadejo. The guy could sit there and hold court. He's a very intelligent kid that knows the right things to say. He's definitely one of the guys in the locker room that you're going to want to talk to if you're in the media."
What about his dealings with the players around him?
"I think they really looked up to him because of his specialty. He was able to get it done as a special teams player, and that doesn't happen at the level he performs at very often around the league. He made the Pro Bowl twice as a special teamer, and he's not a return guy or anything like that. He gained a lot of respect for his work ethic. They named him special teams captain last year over [long snapper] Patrick Mannelly, who was the captain the year before, because of what he's been able to accomplish."
Brendon has the accolades for his special teams play. Can you speak to what made him such an impressive performer in that aspect of the game?
"I think it was all about technique with him. He'll tell you that he's not the fastest guy. He's pretty strong, but he's not the fastest guy in the world. His technique is just sound, as far as blocking and even shedding blocks. He really knows the right way to do that. Other guys would come to him for advice. I did a story about Devin Hester how his blockers helped him out. Brendon was the main guy that everyone else looked for and said, 'Hey, let's follow his lead.'"
Brendon has been mentioned for his ability to provide depth at linebacker for the Ravens. How much did you see him play that position during his time with the Bears?
"I don't think he really ever complained about playing linebacker until the end of his time in Chicago. He didn't play linebacker last year; His snaps came in the Pro Bowl. Now, the previous year, Hunter Hillenmeyer went down, and he was able to get some time at linebacker."
As a guy that is about 230 pounds, do you think Ayanbadejo could step in at linebacker for the Ravens?
"I think he can definitely do some things. I haven't seen him too much at linebacker, but he's got the skills to do it. Brendon definitely has some speed and the strength. Once he gets some reps out there, then we'll see if his size is a factor. He told me that he loves playing linebacker, so I can't see him failing at it."
Read more from McClure at the Chicago Tribune's Bears Web site.