Skip to main content

Elvis Dumervil Explains Choosing Ravens


When a fax-machine error made Elvis Dumervil a free agent, he kept faith that it would work out.

Then he saw it as an opportunity.

The Ravens were in touch immediately, and with a decision between returning to Denver and departing for Baltimore, Dumervil chose the Super Bowl champs.

Baltimore's new pass rusher officially signed his five-year contract Tuesday and spoke about his difficult decision that capped off one of the NFL's wackiest free-agent moves.

"At the end of the day, it was an unfortunate situation that happened. I think everybody has their part in the situation," Dumervil said.

"Obviously, leaving a really good organization in the Denver Broncos. ... But [an] opportunity came when I could come to another proven-winning organization and a first-class organization, just leaving one great one to another great one. So, that was an opportunity, and I took it."

The Broncos wanted Dumervil to take a pay cut. If he didn't by 2 p.m. MT on Friday, March 15, they would have to pay him $12 million for 2013, as stipulated by his contract. Dumervil eventually agreed, but his agent, Marty Magid, sent a confirmation fax seven minutes too late, and Dumervil was cut.

When news broke of the snafu, the Ravens acted quickly.

"When that happened I don't think we had to communicate," Head Coach John Harbaugh said of his interaction with General Manager Ozzie Newsome. "We just kind of looked at each other and said, 'Hey, let's try to make this happen.'"

Linebackers Coach Don Martindale, who was Dumervil's defensive coordinator in Denver, gave him the pitch. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs shot him a few texts and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata got in touch with the free-agent pass rusher.

And on Sunday, Dumervil made his decision. He said it came down to three main things: family, joining a winner and Baltimore's brand of football.

Dumervil said it was first-and-foremost a family decision. And that family is really Martindale. Martindale helped Dumervil make the transition from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker, and Dumervil responded with his highest career sack total (17).

Dumervil said he and Martindale have a "family-friend" relationship and even speak during the season.

"We did talk a little bit more frequently during the whole free agent process," Dumervil said with a grin. "I've always seen him more as a mentor, and he's always been honest with me. He has always been a straight shooter, and I've always admired that about him. Just talking to him was huge."

Dumervil also wanted to go to a winner.

The Broncos have been to the playoffs the past two years, but fell each season in the divisional round. The Ravens have made five straight playoff trips, including three trips to the AFC championship and one Super Bowl.

Baltimore defeated Dumervil's Broncos in Denver in the divisional round last season. It's a game that Dumervil said sent him into a hole for a week, but that he's eager to use that as motivation to capitalize the next time the opportunity comes.

"I wanted hardware myself, so I am a little envious right now," Dumervil said.

Dumervil also admired the Ravens' team concept. He brought up Harbaugh's mantra of "team, team, team" and his happiness to play alongside players such as Suggs and Ngata. He said he molds himself as a relentless, tough player like the Ravens are known for.

Dumermil spoke of how he always noticed how M&T Bank Stadium got "rocking" when the defense was on the field.

"The crowd and how pumped the crowd gets for defense here. That was a big selling point. That was huge," Dumervil said. "[I wanted] a place that was tough, loves football and seems fun."

Dumervil was complimentary of the Broncos despite their desired pay cut and gaffe.

"At the end of the day, there was no ill-will. There were no hard feelings. I just felt it was a time to change scenery," he said.

When asked what he thinks of the chance to possibly open the 2013 season playing against his former team, Dumervil resonded:

"Yeah, you just gave me goose bumps.

"I knew all along that everything was meant to happen for a reason. So I just took it all in, thought about it and accepted it for what it was. It's not about what happened, but how you respond. I'm ready to respond."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content