Ravens get younger by cutting Ayanbadejo

Brendon Ayanbadejo was the leading special-teams tackler for the Baltimore Ravens. He made headlines as an advocate for gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Ayanbadejo, 36, was also the oldest player currently on the Ravens' roster, which doesn't fit the defending Super Bowl champions' offseason trend of getting younger. The Ravens released Ayanbadejo on Wednesday, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The six oldest players on Baltimore's Super Bowl roster are gone: linebacker Ray Lewis (37 years old) and center Matt Birk (36) retired; safety Ed Reed (34) signed elsewhere; nose tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu (34) hasn't been re-signed; and Ayanbadejo and guard Bobbie Williams (36) were released. In addition, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie (33) hasn't been re-signed yet and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (32) was traded.

The only players over 30 currently on the roster are cornerback Chris Johnson (33, two days younger than McKinnie) and fullback Vonta Leach (31).

In the Super Bowl, the Ravens started seven players over the age of 30. There is only one (Leach) in Baltimore's projected starting lineup right now.

"I would like to thank the city of Baltimore and the Ravens organization for an amazing ride. We will forever be united as champions!" Ayanbadejo wrote on Twitter.

If Ayanbadejo isn't designated a June 1 cut, the Ravens saved $807,000 off this year's cap and got thinner at linebacker in the process. With Ayanbadejo gone, Baltimore is left with only five linebackers who have significant starting experience: Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Jameel McClain (when he's medically cleared) and Albert McClellan.

Five years ago, Ayanbadejo was the first free-agent signing of the John Harbaugh era.