Free agent linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is walking back some of the controversial statements he made following his release from the Baltimore Ravens earlier this week.
Ayanbadejo told Newsday that his release was, in part, prompted by his vocal support for marriage equality.
"My bark is louder than my bite," Ayanbadejo said after being honored at Thursday's Straight for Equality Gala in New York City. "I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field. When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?
"I don't necessarily think that teams want this type of attention."
Ayanbadejo made headlines last September when a Maryland State Senator wrote a letter to the Ravens asking them to stifle the linebacker's vocal support of gay marriage. The state of Maryland had a referendum on marriage equality on the ballot in November, which passed.
Ayanbadejo also told Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun on Friday morning that several current gay NFL players are considering coming out of the closet at one time. That way they could share whatever attention or burden that would come with being the first active NFL players to do so.
"I think it will happen sooner than you think," Ayanbadejo said. "We're in talks with a handful of players who are considering it. There are up to four players being talked to right now and they're trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together. It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy. It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out.
"Of course, there would be backlash. If they could share the backlash, it would be more positive. It's cool. It's exciting. We're in talks with a few guys who are considering it. The NFL and organizations are already being proactive and open if a player does it and if something negative happens. We'll see what happens."
Ayanbadejo also said in the interview that his release had more to do with the size of his paycheck and his declining athletic skills than his outspoken nature.Read More »from Brendon Ayanbadejo backtracks on Ravens comments, says multiple gay players could come out at the same time