Don't question whether Elvis Dumervil can still be explosive off the edge at 32 years old and coming off a foot procedure.
"You are on the list," Dumervil told the reporter who asked that question before breaking into laughter.
Dumervil didn't specify what "the list" is, or who and how many people are already on it. But, presumably, it's more like the naughty list than the nice list.
"In all seriousness, especially as you get older, you understand your body kind of goes against the grain," said Dumervil, who returned to practice Monday after missing Organized Team Activities, minicamp and training camp because of an offseason foot-area surgery.
"That is why you have to do the necessary things that make sure you can be as competitive with the young guys. I look forward to being explosive – still."
Dumervil notched six sacks last season, his lowest total since 2008. But he's only two years removed from a monster 17-sack season that tied his career high from 2009.
Last year's drop-off can mostly be attributed to Dumervil playing through a host of different injuries that took a toll on his body, which is why Dumervil had an offseason procedure. He didn't elaborate on exactly what the surgery was, but it's taken time to rebound.
"It's tough when you have a surgery and you try to get all your muscles back firing," Dumervil said. "It's a lot of tedious exercises, where you feel like, 'Am I doing something?' But it helps, so you have to believe in the process."
Dumervil said his foot is still a "work in progress," and that he'll increase the load he puts on it and evaluate it day-to-day.
Dumervil is avid in his offseason physical preparation. He's previously said that he doesn't have the luxury of getting into shape in training camp and expecting that to carry him through an entire season.
The offseason procedure took some of that away from the veteran. While he said it was good to give parts of his body that weren't rehabbing rest and recovery, it's a Catch-22 because he's not in football shape.
While Dumervil has been in every meeting and studying film throughout training camp, he said he's a big believer in practice.
"It is going out and just working on your craft – the get-off, being explosive and trying to get your leverage, your leaning, those types of things as a pass rusher. And your hands," he said. "It is a bit of a muscle memory. It is kind of like riding your bike. After a while, we will start rolling."
Entering his 11th season, Dumervil is about a year and nine months younger than his pass-rushing partner, Terrell Suggs. The duo led the NFL in sacks (29) two years ago, and Dumervil said they're both "itching to come back and be the guys that we were."
At the same time, there's no escaping the fact that both are on the "back nine" of their careers. Suggs has previously talked about when the end of his career may be, and Dumervil was asked about his football mortality Monday morning.
Dumervil said it comes down to still enjoying the game and having fun. But most important?
"I am going to play as long as I am a productive player," he said. "The game will tell you when you can't play anymore."
"That is why you go out, you compete, and you don't take a day for granted. You appreciate when you are healthy, because that is not always the case, especially in this game that we play."