The Ravens' release of safety Eric Weddle is official, ending what was an excellent three-year run together.
Weddle, 34, went to three straight Pro Bowls during his time in Baltimore and was a key piece of last year's No. 1-ranked defense. He never missed a game for the Ravens.
"Eric Weddle is a true pro in every aspect of his life and exemplifies what it means to play like a Raven," General Manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement.
"He's the ultimate competitor, a great leader and one of the smartest players we've ever had. He's a unique blend of talent, work ethic, passion and humility. Eric will always be a significant part of our Ravens family, and we'll enjoy watching his next chapter. We wish Eric, his wife Chanel and their children all the best moving forward."
Both sides are moving on with much appreciation for their time together.
From the moment Weddle arrived in Baltimore from California, with his entire family in tow, he brought an infectious energy to the Ravens defense. His fun-loving personality, beard and obsession with ice cream quickly became adored by his teammates and Baltimore's fans.
As a player, Weddle was a strong leader both in the locker room and on the field. His study habits set an example for other players and led to confusion for opposing quarterbacks. He was the team's defensive signal-caller at various points last season.
Weddle made 54 tackles, one sack and three passes defensed last season. He had one more year left on his contract and was slated to have a salary-cap hit of $9.2 million, per Spotrac. Immediately after the season ended, Weddle questioned whether he would be brought back for the 2019 season.
DeCosta, who was instrumental in recruiting Weddle to Baltimore, wants the Ravens to be mindful of maintaining salary cap flexibility and free agency is set to begin next week. Baltimore has several other key defensive players on the verge of reaching free agency, including Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley, franchise all-time sack leader Terrell Suggs, and last year's sack leader Za'Darius Smith.
After last season's playoff exit, Weddle said he would retire rather than play for another team. He softened that stance weeks later at the Pro Bowl, and now has made it clear that intends to play elsewhere in 2019.