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Ravens Agree to Terms With Ayanbadejo


The Ravens made their first addition to the locker room through free agency, agreeing to terms with former Chicago Bears linebacker and special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo.

The six-year veteran will sign a four-year contract when he arrives at Ravens headquarters in Owings Mills, Md. next week.

Ayanbadejo, 31, is best known for his special teams ability, earning Pro Bowl nods the past two seasons as a special teamer.

"There are various ways to improve a team and getting one of the best special teams players in the league is one way," said general manager Ozzie Newsome. "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."

Newsome is referring to new head coach John Harbaugh, who came to Baltimore in January after building a reputations as one of the top special teams coaches in the NFL after nine seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (Harbaugh coached the Eagles' secondary in 2007).

Harbaugh was enthusiastic to add a player that he believes can boost both his special teams and defense.

"Brendon elevates our special teams, but he will also help us as a linebacker," said the coach. "His style of play and demeanor is great for the Ravens. Teams will have to scheme to try and handle Brendon."

Since joining the Bears in 2005, the UCLA alumnus has led or tied for the team lead in special teams tackles, posting 28 his first two years in Chicago. In 2007, the Bears' season-long special teams captain tallied 26 stops and forced two fumbles.

The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Ayanbadejo originally broke into the NFL with the Miami Dolphins in 2003 after spending two years between the CFL and NFL Europe. Since then, he has never missed a game.

In addition, Ayanbadejo's brother Obafemi was a fullback on the Ravens' Super Bowl squad in 2000.

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