Don’t rule him out just yet.
That’s what Brendon Ayanbadejo said from a hotel Tuesday night in Baltimore.
In an odd twist to his foray into free agency, the two-time Pro Bowl special teams player said there is still a possibility he will return to the Bears a day after the club announced on its Web site that a four-year contract offer to him had been rescinded. Ayanbadejo has had a whirlwind 48 hours. He was at the Beverly Hills (Calif.) Hotel Sunday night receiving an award from the UCLA Black Alumni Association.
The next day, while Ayanbadejo traveled across country for a visit with the New York Jets, the Bears announced they were moving on without him. Ayanbadejo met with Jets officials Monday night and again Tuesday morning before flying to Baltimore.
``[The Bears’] offer is still on the table,’’ Ayanbadejo said. ``They still want me to come back. I wasn’t upset [when that came out]. But I don’t think it was fair. I played for $500,000 and I never complained. I’m about to triple that. I never complained when I was a Pro Bowler. I never put a deadline to give me this money, or else.
``Basically, it comes down to these three teams and I am going to give the Bears the chance to match my best offer.’’
Ayanbadejo, who will turn 32 before the season begins, said all three clubs have presented four-year deals with offers from the Jets and Ravens being ``close’’ and for ``considerably more’’ than the Bears’ offer. He is seeking roughly $1.5 million per year right now. Ayanbadejo’s brother Obafemi won a Super Bowl ring with Baltimore, and he was once property of the Ravens and was allocated to NFL Europe by them in 2001.
The teams have similar philosophies on special teams. Bears coordinator Dave Toub came here in 2004 from Philadelphia where he was an assistant under John Harbaugh, now Baltimore’s head coach. Jets special teams coach Kevin O’Dea just took his post after working under Toub here for two seasons. Ayanbadejo is second in the league in special-teams tackles over the last two seasons, according to Stats Inc.
It’s an interesting development because it’s unlikely the Bears would announce they were done dealing with a player and not mean it.
Ayanbadejo is returning to his home in Miami Wednesday morning and said he expects agent Drew Rosenhaus to sort through the offers and determine what they want before presenting their best offer to the Bears Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
There are two sides to this story. Two different sides. Stay tuned.