The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to terms on a four-year contract with Pro Bowl special teamer Brendon Ayanbadejo, general manager Ozzie Newsome announced today.
"There are various ways to improve a team and getting one of the best special teams players in the league is one way," Newsome said. "Brendon plays like a Raven. He has the toughness, intellect and leadership we look for in our players, and we had to throw Coach Harbaugh - a former special teams coach - a little bone with our first free agent."
The sixth-year veteran has been named to the Pro Bowl twice (2006 and 2007) while with the Chicago Bears. Entering 2008, Ayanbadejo has recorded 124 special teams tackles (average of 24.8 per year), 4 FFs and 2 FRs in 80 career games played. He has led or shared the team lead in special teams tackles each season in which he has played. He recorded 26 special teams tackles in 2007, and 28 each in '06 and '05, all with the Bears. While with Miami, he tallied 23 in 2004 and 19 in 2003. He also recorded 43 career tackles with 1 INT and 1 PD from scrimmage as a reserve LB and has 10 special teams tackles in 4 career postseason contests.
"Brendon elevates our special teams, but he will also help us as a linebacker," said head coach John Harbaugh. "His style of play and demeanor is great for the Ravens. Teams will have to scheme to try and handle Brendon."
A bio for Ayanbadejo is below:
BRENDON AYANBADEJOLinebacker Years in NFL: 6Ht: 6-1 Wt: 228College: UCLA HS: Santa Cruz (CA) HSBorn: 9/6/76 in Chicago, ILJoined Ravens: Free Agent, 2008
Transactions: Brendon Ayanbadejo agreed to terms with the Baltimore Ravens (4-year contract) on 3/6/08...Signed a 2-year contract extension with the Chicago Bears on 11/4/05...Traded by Miami to the Bears for TE John Owens and a conditional draft pick on 8/28/05...Signed with the Miami Dolphins on 2/3/03…Waived by the Ravens on 7/24/01...Signed by Baltimore and allocated to NFL Europe on 2/12/01...Waived by the Bears on 5/10/00…Signed by the Bears on 1/10/00...Waived by the Atlanta Falcons on 8/23/99...Originally entered NFL with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent on 4/23/99.
Pro: Two-time Pro Bowler (2006 and '07) and 2-time alternate (2004 and '05)...Earned All-NFL and All-NFC honors from Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers Association in 2006...Also named All-Pro by ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated in 2005…Entering 2008, Ayanbadejo has recorded 124 special teams tackles (average of 24.8 per year), 4 FFs and 2 FRs in 80 career games played…Has led or shared the team lead in special teams tackles each season in which he has played...Has also recorded 43 career tackles with 1 INT and 1 PD from scrimmage as a reserve LB...He has posted 10 special teams tackles in 4 career postseason contests...His 28 special teams tackles in 2005 and 2006 are tied for the Bears' single-season record...Totaled 42 special teams tackles from 2003-04 with Miami...Entered professional football in 2000 in the CFL, played in NFL Europe in 2001 and returned to the CFL in 2002.
2007: (with Chicago) Selected to his 2nd-consecutive Pro Bowlafter appearing*in all 16 contests, leading the Bears with 26 special teams stops and 1 tackle from scrimmage...Collected 3 or more special teams tackles in 6 games...2007 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS:Tied a season high with 3 special teams tackles ingame 13 at Was. (12/6)…Posted acareer-high 2 FFs* on special teams, one of which was recovered by Chicago, leading to a Bears, FG ingame 5 at GB (10/7)...Recorded a tackle from scrimmage ingame 3 vs. Dal. (9/23)**.
2006: (with Chicago)Earned his1st-career Pro Bowlnod as a special teamer while playing in 16 games,*including 1 start (game 2 vs. Det.)…Tied for the team lead with 28 special teams tackles...Also recovered 2 opponent fumbles on special teams that led to Bears FGs (9/10 at GB and 10/8 vs. BUF) and played all 3 postseason contests, pacing team with 7 special teams tackles...2006 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS:Collected acareer-high 6 special teams tackles* and recorded a FF, which led to a Bears' TD ingame 7 vs. SF (10/29)...Started his 1st game as a Bear and recorded 5 tackles from scrimmage ingame 2 vs. Det. (9/17)...Also added 1 special teams tackle against the Lions...Netted 3 special teams tackles, a FR on special teams, which led to a Bears' FG and a tackle from scrimmage in theseason opener at GB (9/10)**.
2005: (with Chicago)Played all 16 games while leading the team with 28 special teams tackles during his 1st season with Chicago...Recorded at least 1 special teams tackle every game...2005 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Posted 5 tackles from scrimmage and 1 special teams tackle in the season finale at Min. (1/1/06)...Recorded 3 solo tackles from scrimmage and 2 special teams tackles in game 13 at Pit. (12/11)…Netted a season-high 3 special teams tackles in game 10 vs. Car. (11/20).
2004: (with Miami)Saw action in all 16 games, including the 1st 2 starts of his career, pacing the Dolphins with*23 special teams tackles...Recorded 20 tackles and an INT from scrimmage...2004 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS:Tied a career-high with 7 tackles* (3 solo) from scrimmage in theseason finale at Bal. (1/2/05)...Started his 1st-career game at LB on Monday Night Football and posted acareer-high 7 tackles and his1st-career INT, which led to a Dolphins game-winning TD drive ingame 14 vs. NE (12/20)...Posted 3 special teams tackles ingame 4 vs. NYJ (10/3)**.
2003: (with Miami)Played in all 16 games as a reserve LB and on special teams where he led Miami with 19 special teams tackles...2003 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Netted 2 special teams tackles in game 14 vs. Phi. (12/14)...Posted a season-high 3 special teams tackles in game 2 at NYJ (9/15).
2002: (CFL)Played with British Columbia and tied for 2nd on the squad with 77 tackles while compiling a team-high 5 FRs to go with 3 INTs and 3 sacks...Added a club-high 27 special teams tackles.
2001: (NFL Europe)Allocated to the Amsterdam Admirals by Baltimore in the spring of 2001.
2000: (CFL)Split time between Winnipeg and Toronto.
1999: (with Atlanta)Went to training camp with the Falcons as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1999 before being waived prior to the start of the regular season.
College: Four-year letterman at UCLA (1995-98)…Finished his career with 185 tackles and 10 INTs...Earned 1st-team All-Pac-10 honors as a senior after starting all 12 games and recording 62 tackles, 9 sacks and 4 FRs to help the Bruins to a 10-2 record and Rose Bowl berth...Majored in history.
Personal: Prepped at Santa Cruz (CA) HS...Younger brother of fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo who was a teammate of his in 2003 with Miami and again in Chicago during the 2007 preseason…Has started 2 web sites - brotherup.com and mouthpiecesports.com...Born in Chicago, he and his family moved to Lagos, Nigeria, when he was 1 and lived there for nearly 3 years before moving back to the United States...Promoted physical fitness education at Hamlin Park in Chicago each Tuesday on a voluntary basis...Spends time rollerblading and at the beach body surfing when he has free time...Brendon has a daughter, Anaya Lee...Name is pronounced: ah-yon-bah-DAY-joe…Full name: Oladele Brendon Ayanbadejo.