Drenched in sweat, Elvis Dumervil walked off the field with his new teammates following the Ravens’ second OTA practice of the offseason. Wednesday was the first time Dumervil met with the media since his introductory press conference after the Ravens were able to pry him away from Denver following a fax machine snafu. Dumervil was a marquee free agent addition by the Ravens’ front office, and an acquisition that probably hasn’t received as much attention as it merits.
Dumervil will prepare to anchor a new breed of Ravens defense, a unit that lost seven of their starters, including two future Hall of Famers. Part of Dumervil’s approach stems from something he had witnessed from Ray Lewis, and how he led by example.
“[Lewis] went out, he demonstrated, he played, and he walked the walk, he talked the talk,” Dumervil said. “That’s why it’s important to come out to offseason training, OTAs and those things. Let the younger guys [see you]. You know it’s a profession, you’ve got to be professional about it, and take your job seriously.”
Not seeing #52 in the middle of a team huddle will be a strange sight, but as the Ravens finished their second OTA practice of the offseason, not much has changed so far.
“Ray was never here during the offseason anyway, so I’d say it’s business as usual,” head coach John Harbaugh joked when asked about not seeing his former defensive leader out on the field.
Dumervil has heard his name thrown around for candidacy to become the new leader of the Ravens defense, potentially being replacing the leadership characteristics that Lewis so famously possessed.
“You can’t, man,” Dumervil said when asked how the Ravens will replace Lewis. “He’s a first-ballot [Hall of Famer], arguably one of the best players ever. The past he’s left here was remarkable and sort of set in stone. So, his place will always be marked here, and you’ve just got to learn from that and try to keep going.”
As of Wednesday, Dumervil and Lewis hadn’t spoke. Dumervil signed a football for Lewis at his request, but otherwise he hasn’t been able to pick the brain of the greatest player in franchise history. In the prime of his career, entering his eighth season, Dumervil has his own way of leading by example.
“It starts at home,” he said. “I think it’s the way you conduct yourself off the field, the way you take care of yourself off the field and that’s who you are as a person then. If you try to hide it, it comes out of the closet eventually. So, I think you’ve just got to be who you are, then everything else will take its place.”
There is plenty of excitement centered around the addition of Dumervil, and it has to make you think – and laugh a bit – about the Broncos kicking themselves for letting him get away.