Elvis Dumervil: I'm In The Best Shape Ever

Look out NFL, Elvis Dumervil is feeling better than ever.

Fresh off an 11-sack season, the eight-year veteran has shed some weight this summer and feels better than he ever has entering a season.

"I came in in probably the best shape I've been in," Dumervil said Wednesday before his first training camp practice as a Raven.

After being acquired as a free agent from Denver in March, Dumervil had perfect attendance during the Ravens' voluntary workouts and Organized Team Activities (OTAs).

He said he's learned to eat right and not just work hard, but work smarter. Dumervil, 29, also said his personal life is in order.

"So I have a clear mind of what I want to do," he said. "I'm excited for that and just a new chapter – OTAs, minicamps, and now you get to training camp. That's when you know it* *starts to get really serious."

Dumervil said he shed some weight because he wants to "be able to run all day."

He may be more of a stand-up outside linebacker in Baltimore's scheme than he was in Denver's, where he often put his hand in the dirt as a defensive end. And with the presence of run-stopping linebacker Courtney Upshaw, Dumervil may be able to hone in as a pass rusher.

Dumervil notched 11 sacks last year, 9.5 in 2011 and a league-leading 17 in 2009 when Ravens Inside Linebackers Coach Don Martindale was his defensive coordinator.

Still, Dumervil didn't get much respect from a recent ProFootballFocus grade, which projected him to be only an "average" player for the Ravens this year.

"Dumervil hasn’t played really well for a few years now and could go either way," PFF's Neil Hornsby wrote. "If he exceeds this level we are looking at a very good defensive line."

With Dumervil feeling the best he has in his entire career, exceeding previous levels seems possible.

"I think we've got a lot of good players on this defense," Dumervil said. "Primarily we have guys inside, especially having that rotation. Obviously we know what Terrell Suggs brings on the other side. We could be a trifecta. It should be special."

Asked whether he expects the Ravens defense to be better next year, Dumervil said, "We will be better this year, for sure."

Dumervil was beaten by the Ravens as a former Bronco in the AFC divisional round last year. He was on field when quarterback Joe Flacco  threw the "Mile High Miracle" touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones. The play helped send the Ravens to the Super Bowl, and his new teammates' rings are a reminder of that game.

"I don't think they're trying to taunt me or nothing," he said with a laugh. "If I had a ring, I'd be wearing it right now."

Dumervil is looking forward to the season opener against his former team in Denver, but said it's too far away to think much about now.

"Yeah, I have to worry about Joe Flacco in practice," he said. "I've got Michael Oher, McKinnie, Ray Rice [and] those guys, so we have to compete here. That time for Denver, it will come."

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