The Baltimore Ravens ended their two-year relationship with starting safety Bernard Pollard on Wednesday morning, another surprising personnel loss considering the team is fresh off a Super Bowl victory.
Pollard announced the news via his Twitter feed, thanking the fans in Baltimore for their support during his short but memorable run with the Ravens.
Well Raven Nation it's been fun. My time in Baltimore is done... Thank you!— Bernard Pollard Jr (@Crushboy31) March 13, 2013
It’s a bit of a shock, as the veteran received a three-year contract extension last May, a deal that was supposed to keep him around through 2015. Pollard was set to earn $2.25 million for the 2013 campaign.
Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun noted that this cut saves the Ravens $1 million against the salary cap in the upcoming season.
Ravens are saving $1 million against the salary cap with Bernard Pollard's release.— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) March 13, 2013
During his seven-year career, the strong safety racked up 585 combined tackles, 13 forced fumbles, nine interceptions, nine sacks, recovered eight fumbles and scored three touchdowns.
Before joining Baltimore, Pollard spent three years with the Kansas City Chiefs and two with the Houston Texans. He’s infamous around the league for his crushing, injury-inducing tackles against multiple New England Patriots players.
Pollard notably administered the hit to QB Tom Brady’s knee in 2008 that forced the signal-caller to miss the remainder of the year. Pollard followed that up by tackling Wes Welker on a play where the WR tore his ACL.
Did the Ravens make the right call?
In the 2011 AFC championship, Pollard’s hit caused an ankle sprain to star TE Rob Gronkowski, and the safety helped the Ravens win the 2012 conference championship by delivering a crushing blow that forced a critical Stevan Ridley fumble.
Perhaps New England will be interested in Pollard’s services now that he’s a free agent, as the long-time foe may be better off on the Pats roster than hurting their players.
Regardless, the 28-year-old safety should find a home in this league, as he’s a proven winner who recently helped Baltimore capture a Super Bowl ring. Pollard’s impressive résumé should see plenty of suitors inquiring about his availability now that he’s on the open market.