Ayanbadejo reflects on season

Ayanbadejo reflects on season
August 29, 2013, 10:00 am
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Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo reacts after making a tackle during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.

(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Ravens linebacker and special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo this week looked back at the Super Bowl season for FoxSports.com’s Laces Out blog and listed his 10 most memorable moments. Here they are:

*Coach John Harbaugh listens to the players and backs off from holding a pads-on practice.

“Not only did he agree to the demands of his players out of humility, he also vowed to be a better coach. In a game of mind over matter, mental toughness, and fight through it mentalities, Coach Harbaugh did the opposite,” Ayanbadejo writes.

The team responded by, well, not responding, having an awful practice. But then the veterans who had urged the change took charge, calling out their teammates.

“Just as Harbs vowed to be a better coach, it was our turn to be better players out of humility. This one single event galvanized us as we recommitted ourselves in that moment to win the Lombardi Trophy.”

*Ray Rice’s fourth-and-29 dash for a first down that saved the game against the Chargers.

*Ray Lewis’ return, retirement announcement and final home game in the Ravens’ playoff win over the Colts.

*AFC Championship victory over the Patriots.

“I wouldn’t say we had our way with the Pats, but we sure did beat ‘em up and break ‘em down in what quite possibly could have been one of Tom Brady’s worst playoff performances. I don’t blame any of it on Brady. He was facing a tenacious and overly prepared Ravens defense.”

*The approval of marriage equality in Maryland. Ayanbadejo had been an advocate for the right of same-sex marriage.

*Playoff win over the Broncos.

*Ravens’ visit to the White House.

“I was so honored and humbled to meet President Obama I forgot everything I had hoped to say to him.”

*Muhammad Ali visits the Ravens.

“Ali posed for a team picture. I was on one side holding up one the greatest American athletes the world had seen. Ray Lewis stood behind us and whispered into the champ’s ear for a good 30 seconds. I just tried to absorb all of the GOAT’S greatness and positivity. You could feel it radiating through the entire practice facility hours after he left us that day.”

*Super Bowl victory parade.

*Super Bowl game itself.

“When the confetti dropped [and] we beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl so did the baggage, the regrets, the what-ifs, from a lifetime of past missed accomplishments. The tears came heavy and they came fast. I embraced coach Jerry Rosburg, our special teams coordinator and assistant head coach, and wept in his arms.”