Karlos Dansby released by Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have cut ties with their most accomplished defensive star.

The Browns released veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby on Wednesday, the team announced.

Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown released this statement: "We want to thank Karlos for his service to the Cleveland Browns during the past two seasons. He was a dedicated, hard-working leader of our defense and we wish him the best as he continues his career."

Dansby was originally brought in to set the tone and offer leadership as former coach Mike Pettine installed his defense three offseasons ago. Cleveland's new regime opted to go younger at the position, replacing Dansby with former Jets linebacker Demario Davis.

"They're in a rebuild," Dansby told Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. "This will get me closer to my destiny.

The inference is that Dansby expects to close out his illustrious career with a linebacker-needy contender, such as Hue Jackson's former club in Cincinnati.

Although Dansby continued to turn in big plays in his 12th NFL season -- forcing three fumbles and returning a pair of interceptions for touchdowns -- he was a prime culprit in Cleveland's porous run defense. It's certainly not unusual for a linebacker's tackling ability to fall off as he reaches his mid-thirties.

Dansby, 34, can still be an asset on a team with playoff aspirations, however. He remains an excellent coverage linebacker in addition to maintaining rare playmaking instincts.

From a dot-connecting standpoint, Dansby's former coordinators Todd Bowles, Jim O'Neil and Kevin Coyle are now with the Jets, 49ers and Bengals, respectively.

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