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(Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens on Friday said they will release Terrence Cody, a veteran nose tackle who is under investigation for animal cruelty.
Cody, 26, who the Ravens said will be cut after the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, was set to become an unrestricted free agent in March when his one-year, $730,000 contract expires.
A five-year NFL veteran, Cody is under investigation for animal cruelty and the case is being discussed with the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, said Elise Armacost, the director of communications for Baltimore County police.
Cody has not been charged and the Ravens did not cite the investigation as the reason for releasing the backup tackle.
The incident reportedly involves Cody's dog, a bullmastiff, and Cody's agent, Peter Schaffer, told the Baltimore Sun that Cody is upset about the death of the animal.
Schaeffer told the newspaper the National Football League has created "an atmosphere of hysteria that tramples on due process rights."
"This young man’s dog has died and the Ravens were so worried about possible ramifications from the league that they took a preemptive strike," he said.
Several high-profile off-the-field crimes, including a domestic abuse case involving former Ravens running back Ray Rice, spurred the NFL to strengthen its personal conduct policy.
The new policy was announced Dec. 10 and the NFL players union has filed a grievance against the action.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Eric Beech