Ayanbadejo at Ravens training camp, August 2009.
|Linebacker / Special teamer|
|Date of birth:September 6, 1976|
|Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois|
|High school: Santa Cruz (CA)|
|Undrafted in 1999|
|Debuted in 2000 for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
|Last played in 2012 for the Baltimore Ravens|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Oladele Brendon Ayanbadejo (/ /; born September 6, 1976) is an American football linebacker and special teamer who played in Canadian Football League (CFL) and the National Football League (NFL) for thirteen seasons. He played college football for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 1999.
Ayanbadejo has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times as a special teams player. He also was named to the All-Pro team two times as special teams player by Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers Association. He has also been a member of the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins of the NFL, the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts and BC Lions of the CFL.
Ayanbadejo was born in Chicago to a Nigerian father and an American mother of Irish descent. He has one older brother, Obafemi Ayanbadejo, also a professional football player. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Nigeria, but after his parents separated he returned to the United States with his mother, settling in Chicago and then Santa Cruz, California. He attended Santa Cruz High School.
For college Ayanbadejo enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he played college football for the UCLA Bruins. He was first-team all-Pac-10 his senior season with four sacks against arch-rival USC's Carson Palmer. He majored in history.
1999 NFL Combine
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 1 in||234 lb||4.67 s||1.63 s||2.66 s||4.36 s||7.57 s||36 in||9 ft 9 in||18 reps|
|All values from NFL Combine|
Ayanbadejo was originally signed by the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League as an undrafted free agent on April 23, 1999. He entered the draft 5 times before he was picked up by the Falcons. He served on the practice squad of the Falcons and the Chicago Bears before being picked up by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League in 2000, and spent time with them and the Toronto Argonauts. He played the 2001 season with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe, and played for the BC Lions of the CFL in 2002. For September 2002, the CFL named Ayanbadejo the Defensive Player of the Month for recording two interceptions, six special team tackles, 21 defensive tackles, one pass deflected, and two recovered fumbles.
In 2003 he returned to the NFL as a member of the Miami Dolphins. In 2004, Ayanbadejo made a play that led to one of the biggest upset comebacks in Monday Night Football history. While getting sacked, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw the ball up for grabs. Ayanbadejo caught it for the interception, and the Dolphins went on to win the game by one point.
Second stint with Baltimore Ravens
On March 6, 2008, Ayanbadejo signed a four-year, $4.9 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens. The contract included a $1.9 million signing bonus. He again made the Pro Bowl that season for his special teams contributions. In 2009, Ayanbadejo began to contribute more on the Ravens defense. In week three against the Cleveland Browns, Ayanbadejo recorded six tackles, one of which was for a loss, a sack, and an interception. For his effort, he was awarded AFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 3). In week 4 against the Patriots, Brendon tore a quadriceps muscle. He said after the game he could miss the rest of the year, and was placed on the Injured Reserve list two days later.
In 2013, Ayanbadejo helped the Ravens sweep Indianapolis and Denver in the playoffs, and move on to defeat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. That particular victory was especially sweet for Baltimore and Ravens fans everywhere because it finally healed the wound of their devastating "wide-left" loss to New England in the 2012 AFC Championship game. The Ravens' "season of Destiny" culminated in New Orleans on February 3, 2013, when they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII, becoming two-time Super Bowl champions.
Ayanbadejo was released by the Ravens on April 3, 2013.
|Year||Team||Games||Combined Tackles||Tackles||Assisted Tackles||Sacks||Forced Fumbles||Fumble Recoveries||Fumble Return Yards||Interceptions||Interception Return Yards||Yards per Interception Return||Longest Interception Return||Interceptions Returned for Touchdown||Passes Defended|
He is the younger brother of free agent fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo. The two were teammates on the Miami Dolphins in 2003. They were on the same team again in 2007, this time the Chicago Bears. Obafemi Ayanbadejo was cut by the Chicago Bears on October 1, 2007, after the fullback finished serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances.
Ayanbadejo wrote for the Santa Cruz Sentinel his first couple of years in the NFL. He has advocated for the passage of the FIT Kids Act, federal legislation that would require school districts to report on students' physical activity and to give youngsters health and nutritional information. Ayanbedejo is married, has a daughter, Anaya Lee Ayanbadejo, born in August 2005 and a son, Amadeus Prime Ayanbadejo, born in April 2011.
LGBT rights advocacy
Since 2009, Ayanbedejo has advocated for legalizing same-sex marriage. His advocacy rather suddenly became a cause célèbre in September 2012, after Maryland State Delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr. wrote an August 29, 2012 letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, on official Maryland State letterhead, demanding that Bisciotti "take the necessary action ... to inhibit such expressions from your employee." Burns' letter went on to state that, "I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing." Burns' letter was widely criticized as an effort to infringe on Ayanbadejo's right to free speech. According to The Washington Post, the Ravens acknowledged receiving the letter but had no further comment. Shortly after the Burns letter was delivered, Ayanbedejo publicly announced that, as the son of interracial parents whose own marriage would have been illegal in 16 states prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Loving v. Virginia decision in 1967, he had no intention of remaining silent on an issue of conscience and public importance. Ayanbadejo has since said that he has received widespread support in the world of football. Among others, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wrote a scathing response to Burns, while the Ravens also publicly sided with Ayanbadejo. In February 2013, Ayanbadejo and Kluwe filed a joint amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage, particularly in the case dealing with California Proposition 8. Ayanbadejo is represented by Ryan Totka of Athlete Promotions.
- NVS (October 27, 2005). ""I take a lot of pride in being Nigerian" - Brendon Ayanbadejo of Chicago Bears". Nigeria Village Square.
- Van Valkenburg, Kevin (September 1, 2009). "Ayanbadejo a Raven worlds apart from others". The Baltimore Sun.
- "Eskimos pair top player of the month honours". CBC News. October 3, 2002. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
- Article written by Dan Kolko[dead link]
- Rosenthal, Gregg (2013-04-03). "Brendon Ayanbadejo to be cut by Baltimore Ravens". National Football League. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
- "Brendon Ayanbadejo Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- NFL Players Promoted Increased Physical Education ESPN, March 19, 2009
- Same Sex Marriages: What's the Big Deal? Huffington Post, April 23, 2009
- Rosenwald, Michael S. (September 6, 2012). "Del. Emmett Burns blasts Ravens for linebacker’s support of gay marriage - Rosenwald, Md.". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
- "Maryland politician asks Ravens to "inhibit" Ayanbadejo’s same-sex marriage support | ProFootballTalk". Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
- Himmelsbach, Adam (2012-09-14). "Standing Up at an Early Age". The New York Times.
- "NFL's Ayanbadejo On Offensive For Gay Marriage". NPR. 2012-09-13.
- Brinson, Will (February 28, 2013). "Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe file brief supporting gay marriage". cbssports.com. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
- "Brief of Amici Curiae Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo in Support of Respondents". sfcityattorney.org. Retrieved March 2, 2013.