Elvis Dumervil Press Conference Transcripts

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh's opening statement:

*(HARBAUGH) *"Thanks for coming. Obviously, it's a very exciting day for the Ravens and for our fans. The [NFL] Network is here doing this live, right Albert [Breer]? Good to have you guys here. We appreciate it. Coach is here; [linebackers coach] Ted [Monachino] and [defensive coordinator] Dean [Pees] and T.A. [secondary coach Teryl Austin] and, of course, [inside linebackers coach] Don Martindale. Don and Elvis have a great relationship, going back to their time in Denver when Don was the linebackers coach and then the defensive coordinator there and had some great success. [Elvis] set a few records as a football player there. Not just individual records, but was a leader on that defense; a defense that has accomplished quite a bit over the last few years. We just feel like Elvis Dumervil is our kind of guy. We feel like he is the kind of person that fits us. We like to say things like, 'He is a Raven.' That's how he has always played. We loved him coming out of Louisville. In some ways we've – I don't want to say feared him – but we've certainly respected him as a football player, trying to game plan all around him, and this is the kind of player that you have to game plan around. So, we are really excited to have him here on our team, really excited to have him here today as part of our organization. But more importantly, we're happy to have Lori Harris here, Elvis' better half. And it's your birthday, right? Happy Birthday. Thanks for coming. We're all family, and it's good to have both of you as part of our family.

"I want to congratulate [general manager/executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and [Dumervil's agent] Tom Condon on putting this deal together. This was a tough deal. This deal took some work, and they put it together in kind of a package that works really well for both sides, and I want to credit Tom, and I want to credit Elvis in allowing that to happen and making it something that we were able to do to build a really big deal into the framework that allows us to build our football team – that's really important. [Director of pro personnel] Vince Newsome and our pro staff always do a great job in evaluating players all around the league, and obviously they felt very highly of Elvis. Our coaching staff did a great job of evaluating all the guys out there, and so we have the opportunity now to add a premier defensive player in the National Football League to the Baltimore Ravens. 'Wink,' [Don Martindale] there's a few things maybe you could add."

Ravens inside linebackers coach Don 'Wink' Martindale's opening statement:

*(MARTINDALE) *"I want to make sure that I don't say 'excited' and 'happy' 7,000 times with this, but as a coach, it's all about relationships. Obviously, Elvis and I got really close back in Denver, not just because of the player that he is – although that helps when he is sacking the quarterback – but also as a person. I am happy for both the Ravens and Elvis because of what a class organization this is, what a great city it is. I am happy that Elvis got to meet Ozzie and go through the whole process and just see how classy that part of it is. He'll get to meet [owner] Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti, 'Harbs' and Dean [Pees] and Ted [Monachino] and C.B. [defensive line coach Clarence Brooks] and T.A. [Teryl Austin] and to be a part of the whole team of the Ravens. I am really happy for him as well."

Ravens DE/OLB Elvis Dumervil's opening statement:

*(DUMERVIL) *"First and foremost, it's been awesome the first day since I've arrived, accepting me as family, and I am so thankful. I just thank God for this situation and opportunity. I think it's a blessing. I am excited about being a Raven. There are a few words I've heard coach 'Harbs' talks about: the team, the team, the team. So, I am excited about that, and that's what I am all about. Obviously, I wanted hardware myself, so I am a little envious right now. But, I am here to be a part of the team. I spoke to a few of the guys in the locker room: Haloti [Ngata], Terrell [Suggs]. I am just thankful to be a part of such a great organization who has proven to be a winner. And obviously, the fans and the fresh uniforms. So, I am excited. Obviously, me and 'Wink' go back, as he alluded [to]. It came down with my decision to friendship and family, and I always valued that. Ever since he departed from Denver, it was a big part of my breaking point in my NFL career. He helped me a lot in a really adverse situation, moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, and he made that transition very smooth, and I learned a lot and soaked it up like a sponge. So, when I wanted to make that the decision, Ozzie Newsome, the way he has carried this organization since he's been here, and obviously, the great job coach 'Harbs' has done just bringing that relentless-type, toughness-type football team, and that's what I like to try to [mold] my game as. So the opportunity presented itself, and I am so thankful and so honored to be here and just going to try to fit in and be a part of this family."

Obviously, this is a little bit of a unique situation the way that Elvis became free. How quickly did you guys have to move from the minute that it happened to going after him? (Albert Breer)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Probably quicker than that. It was just that fast. I don't think there was any question that, obviously, Elvis is a guy we've known. We talk about these things all the time as a staff. Ozzie and I have conversations hourly it seems like, especially this time of the year. But, when that happened, I don't think we had to communicate. We just kind of looked at each other and said, 'Hey, let's try to make this happen.' We have a plan in place. We've got a vision for how we want to try to take the financial situation and take the roster and try to mold those two things together and build the best football team we can. We knew right away that Elvis would be a perfect fit if we could make it happen. We were on the phone right away."

Elvis, can you take us through the process of how it all came down? Will you ever touch a fax machine again? Is that the result of this whole mess in the end? (Jerry Coleman)

*(DUMERVIL) *"At the end of the day, it was an unfortunate situation that happened. I think everybody has their part in the situation. Obviously, leaving a really good organization in the Denver Broncos … They are proven winners. I have nothing but good things to say about the organization. But, when opportunity came when I could come to another proven-winner organization and a first-class organization, just leaving one great one to another great one. So, that was an opportunity, and I took it."

* *

When it comes to playing teams from all around the league, you've been exposed to different schemes and different philosophies. What about Baltimore has made an impression on you, even long before you thought about coming here? (Joe Platania)

*(DUMERVIL) *"Obviously, the crowd and how pumped the crowd gets for defense here. That was a big selling point. That was huge. Obviously, having good players and good guys in the locker room. Obviously, with Ray Lewis departing, but those guys, just the chemistry they've had here for a long time. I'm sure a lot of the guys learned a lot from them. If I could come in and try to fit in where I can and try to be part of that and keep it going. Honestly, just leadership and just the team is important. [They're] your guys, and you care about them, because once you have that feeling, that chemistry, you go out and you play for one another."

What are your thoughts on playing with Terrell Suggs and how good of a pass-rushing tandem you guys can have as two of the premier pass rushers in this league? (Garrett Downing)

*(DUMERVIL) *"I'm excited. I did play with a pretty good outside rusher last year in [Broncos OLB] Von Miller. What Terrell Suggs brings to the table, obviously, he was once a Defensive Player of the Year. We had the same agent before, so I knew a lot about him. I tried to chase his sack record in college – I couldn't beat it. So, I've known Terrell Suggs for a long time, and he's a great player. He plays the run, he rushes the passer, [is a] great personality. So, I'm excited [that] we can come and merge, obviously [Courtney] Upshaw as well, and just try to get after quarterbacks."

Talk about this scheme and how you think you fit into it, and also the exciting new additions that the team has added on the defensive line. (Glenn Younes)

*(DUMERVIL) *"Like you said, the big guys inside [Chris] Canty, [Marcus] Spears and Haloti, obviously, [Terrence] Cody. As far as the scheme part of it, you just have to be a coachable player, and that's why we have these great guys up here. They are the coaches. I am the guy who has to accept my role and go out there and execute."

In years past, Ray Lewis was the guy inside the locker room that really was a recruiting tool. I guess besides coach Martindale, was there anybody else on the team right now that helped influence you? (Kris Jones)

*(DUMERVIL) *"I got a few texts from 'T-Sizzle' [Suggs], as you call him. I spoke to Haloti. You've got a great amount of respect for those guys. They've been doing this thing for a long time. Obviously, World Champions helps, and just the way this organization has always been contenders and is always in the hunt and is always competing year in and year out. Baltimore has something to say about it. That part of it, being able to go to a winning organization, it was important."

*Watching you play, the effort is obvious. Can you just talk about your mentality for the game and how you approach football? *(Aaron Wilson) **

*(DUMERVIL) *"I love the game. I always [have] since I attempted to play when I was like 10 years old. I think at times in life, you deal with people, and you deal with circumstances of adversity that you can't do this or you shouldn't do that. In this world, you have to prove a point, and you have to prove yourself, and I'm all about that. I think year in and year out, that's what drives me. I'd go in as a rookie every year so you have to prove yourself. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm excited. My attitude and the way I approach it is that is my mentality. I have a chip on my shoulder; I may have a brick wall now. I'm so excited. I can't wait to get out there with the guys and really compete and just bring that to the table."

After your season ended at the hands of the Ravens, how devastated were you, and after that, honestly, did you watch the Ravens the rest of the way or could you not watch football? (Jerry Coleman)

(DUMERVIL) "I was probably in a hole for about a week. Not only was it so cold, it's a tough loss. You live and you learn from it. You take that. A great man once told me, 'You never forget that moment. You remember that moment. You just take advantage of the next time [the] opportunity comes.'"

* *

What was specifically the reason you chose Baltimore over Denver? They made a nice offer after the fax incident. Like you said, one great team to another, but what separated the two?  (David Ginsburg)

(DUMERVIL) "Sometimes you have to make a decision about it. We prayed about it. At the end of the day, there was no ill-will. There were no hard feelings. I just felt it was time to change scenery. Obviously, I wanted to be somewhere where I felt like it was family-type feel, because obviously, the Denver Broncos were all I've ever known [my entire] career. I knew the next choice I would have to make would have to be somewhere I felt like it was stable, winners, a place that was tough, loves football and seems fun. From the top on down, from the owner [Steve Bisciotti], [general manager/executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome], [head coach] John [Harbaugh], and obviously, having a relationship with [inside linebackers coach Don] 'Wink' [Martindale] and the guys that I [feel] are in that locker room, I felt it was a great, great opportunity to finish my career."

What was hard about leaving Denver? Obviously, you were a part of building something there, being a captain and having Peyton [Manning] come in and everything else. What was most difficult about deciding you wanted to leave there? (Albert Breer)

(DUMERVIL) "The very reasons why I'm here – it's tough. Obviously, the friendship you establish, you create over the years, the community – being part of the community, helping the organization and programs. Those are things you miss. Your teammates, there are a lot of great people that I can't say enough about: the head trainers – great men, the equipment staff guys, the guys who do the yards, just the relationships you build. It's tough. It was a tough decision to make, but I knew when I was involved in negotiations with the Baltimore Ravens that I was making a good choice."

NFL teams evolve every year, but you've had a tremendous amount of change on the defense. Is there an excitement associated with that, building something that's new, I guess? (Peter Schmuck)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Sure, I think we've done that every year to some extent. Obviously, it's more obvious this year with the big stars like Ray [Lewis] retiring and Ed [Reed] moving on. Cary Williams was a heck of a player for us, but that is the nature of the business in this league. I think everybody is moving on to opportunities that they are excited about all across the board. There's nothing negative in any of those – Bernard [Pollard] as well. All those guys were just huge parts of what we have accomplished. They are great friends. They will continue to be great friends. We walk together; we walked the championship together, so we will have that together, and that will bind us together. But, like anything in life, we all go through life, things do change. You evolve and grow and move in another direction. We just have to make sure it's a successful direction."

Do you feel like you are going to come in here and try to be one of those leaders on the defense? (Luke Jones)

(DUMERVIL) "I'm just going to come in here when the offseason training starts and work my butt off. Obviously, there is a lot to still learn, and at the same time, if I can help a younger guy or anybody to move forward, that's what I'm all about. I've done it in Denver, and I will continue to be a leader here."

Being able to come to an organization like the Ravens, it's a great fan base. Coming from Denver to Baltimore, what do you think about the fan base? (Bill West)

*(DUMERVIL) *"I'm excited. I think Denver had great fans as well, awesome [fans]. But, I am excited being in Baltimore – a Baltimore Raven. I'm excited. I know the defense, [on] third down it gets loud; I definitely [will need] that to get sacks. I'm excited. Every time I've played here, it was rocking. Now, I'm a Raven. I'm looking forward to putting that jersey on and running out there."

You think about what happened with the whole fax scenario. How did you find peace with that internally? How did you process everything that happened to the point that you had to accept it and go from there? (Jarrett Bell)

(DUMERVIL) "It's simple. It's not simple, but for me, it's one word: faith. I had faith all along. As a man of God, and how I feel my life should be run, I wasn't going to fight it. A lot of things were happening that I felt were a bit shocking or surprising, but I knew all along that everything was meant to happen for a reason. I just took it all in, and just thought about it and accepted it for what it was. It's not about what happens, it's about how you respond; I've always felt. So, I'm ready to respond."

How late in this process did you still think you would be in Denver next year? Did you expect even after this situation unfolded with the whole fax machine, did you still think at that point that you would be in Denver next year? (Matt Zenitz)

(DUMERVIL) "Yes, at the end of the day I was drafted there. So, me honestly, I never intended on leaving Denver. Like I said, things happen. It's just the way life is. As coach [Harbaugh] alluded [to] earlier, it's a business, and it happens. It's not like I'm the only person it happens to. There are a lot of guys that have to deal with things and make decisions."

John, you guys have been adding more pieces to the front seven. How much do you feel like the defense is still an area that you will continue, as players come around, that you guys will add to it in free agency?* (Aaron Wilson)*

(HARBAUGH) "You know we are going to continue to do that. We never walk away from a good player if we can add them. We love competition. We love good guys like Elvis who love ball. We just love guys who like football – tough guys who work hard, who are good people, who can play. If we can add some guys like that, we will."

How much flexibility does Elvis give you guys? I know you still have [Courtney] Upshaw, obviously Terrell Suggs is here. You have a couple of young outside linebackers, too. How much does he help with versatility and flexibility of what you could do with the rest of the defense? (Jeff Zrebiec)

(MARTINDALE) "I think the thing that Elvis has always shown year in and year out is telling him he can't do something, and he gets it done. As far as the flexibility goes and everything else, we will sit down with [defensive coordinator] Dean [Pees] and [linebackers coach] Ted [Monachino] … One of the things that I'm excited about is Ted is coaching him. Ted knows how to get people to the quarterback. That's what I told him when he came in. I said, 'You wait.' That's what is the easy thing, when I talked to Elvis on the phone is being so excited. Not just because we are World Champions, that's the easy thing to say. It's the people in this building. He is going to have a lot of fun here in Baltimore."

Coach Martindale, when it comes to how Elvis is going to be deployed out there, a lot of people are enamored with big numbers, big stats, sack totals, which he has. What have you seen from him as far as dropping back in coverage? (Joe Platania)

(MARTINDALE) *"I would rather see him going towards the quarterback. *(laughter) I like your chances there better. The stats and everything else, one of the things that no one talks about is how many holding calls he draws, and that's just like getting a quarterback sack. So, it's going to be a lot of fun for him, and for us."

You guys have got two "go-get-ems" on the outside. What about your inside middle linebackers that you have to address maybe in the draft or with young guys like [Josh] Bynes or [Albert] McClellan, who's a versatile guy both in and out? (Glenn Younes)

*(MARTINDALE) *"You answered it right there. It's a wait-and-see process. And coach Harbaugh brought up about the competition, that's the exciting thing for any coach, is seeing the competition and how it all comes out in the end."

Elvis, did you meet with the Ravens at all before today? Did you meet with any team officials during the process? (Jeff Zrebiec)


Have you decided, in terms of your plans for the offseason? I know you'll be at the mandatory, but maybe some extra minicamps to get more acclimated to the surroundings? (Jerry Coleman)

*(DUMERVIL) *"Yeah, I'll be attending everything. As much as I can do, the better."

* *

Elvis, can you talk about when 'T-Sizzle' [Terrell Suggs] texted you, how he recruited you and when he finally got you? Just talking about the duo that you guys could form? (Jim Corbett)

(DUMERVIL) *"I mean we didn't get into the details of that, *we just … First, I congratulated him on being a Super Bowl Champion, and I was jealous. I've known him for a while, and like I mentioned earlier, we had the same agent before. He's a great player. Pretty much, he just gave me a text to let me know that he thought it would be a great idea if I would become a Raven, and I need to go ahead and make it happen. So, it was good to hear it from guys in the locker room. I think it's important."

* *

Elvis, how often was 'Wink' [Don Martindale] hitting you up once you became a free agent? What was he saying? (Ryan Mink)

*(DUMERVIL) *"The thing with me and 'Wink' [Don Martindale], we talk even during the season. So, we have more of a family-type friendship. We speak often. We did talk a little bit more frequently during the whole free agency process. 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."

* *

Can you talk about yourself in terms of what you pride yourself on? You've got numbers – 63.5 sacks, I think it's 17 forced fumbles. What is it about you that you really pride yourself on as a player and as a playmaker? (Jim Corbett)

*(DUMERVIL) *"I think just love the game, just be thankful. I think not everybody is in a situation to do what they love. So, every time I play, I play like it's the last opportunity. I really – the status part of it – I just try to go out and to be the best football player and teammate I can be."

Being not as tall, being more of a shorter guy, does that help you with the leverage and being able to get the leverage on offensive linemen? (Aaron Wilson)

(DUMERVIL) *"Here we go with the short jokes." (laughter)*

* *

(MARTINDALE) *"First of all, he's six-foot, alright? *(laughter) We've had that argument for years. Six-foot. I'm 6'3, but he's six-foot."

*(DUMERVIL) *"It goes into when I came out of college. I was told I couldn't play defensive end at the collegiate level, and the same thing happened when I got to the pros. But, for me, in my eyes, I feel like I'm just as tall as everybody. So, I guess that's my world. But, as far as the football part of it, I think it helps with leverage. I think the game of football is played with leverage. Coach is always teaching pad level, and leaning and leverage. I guess I have instant leverage, so that helps."

Elvis, you'll be going back to Denver at some point next season. Have you thought at all about that? (Jerry Coleman)

*(DUMERVIL) *"Yeah, you just gave me goose bumps. *(laughter) *First things first, I need to get in the best shape of my life, and that's important. From there, when that time comes, I'm sure it'll be time."

John, after such a crazy offseason in the past six or seven weeks, can you describe from your perspective just what that ebb and flow has been like? (Jarrett Bell)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Truthfully, it hasn't been an ebb and flow for us here. I feel like it's been very steady. There are some highs and lows obviously. You hope things can get accomplished – some things do, some things don't – but I don't think you dwell on that too much. We have a vision for where we want to go with our team and how we want to apply our resources and build the best team we can. And I will say this … Is the ebb the high? Or the flow? *(laughter) *Which is? Whatever that is, this is a good day. We're on the flow right now. So, we feel good about today."

John, last year, as good of a year as it was, statistically the defense was not quite what it had been in the three or four years previous. Was there a feeling here that it was time to turn the corner a little bit? (Peter Schmuck)

*(HARBAUGH) *"To say 'no' just wouldn't be honest. We want to be the best at everything. We want to be the best defense in football, and we were the winningest defense in football last year. I thought our coaches and players did a great job of figuring out how to win games. We got it done in the most important settings, against the best quarterbacks in football and against the best teams in football when it counted the most. So, I'm really proud of our defense. But you're either getting better or you're getting worse, and we need to get better in everything we do, and I know our defensive coaches and defensive players feel the same way. It's how I feel. Let's put the best defense together we possibly can, and that's what we're trying to do."

* *

How much does the fact that you have 12 draft picks effect the rest of your offseason decisions and knowing you'll at least have options if free agency passes and this is it? (Albert Breer)

*(HARBAUGH) *"We're just going to try to max everything out. We're going to try to be the best team we can be, with NFL available players, within the boundaries of the financial situation that we have. Then we're going to try to have the best draft we possibly can, then we'll try to coach them as well as we possibly can. Guys will work as hard as they possibly can, and we'll be the best team we can be. That's all. Just keep it simple."

* *

Don, can you talk about Elvis' strengths and just how you've seen him grow as a player over the years? (Ryan Mink) *(MARTINDALE) *"Yeah, it's like I alluded to earlier; there's no task too big for him. Whatever you need him to do, he's going to do it. The thing that jumped out to me the most from our time in Denver was not only – obviously when you look at the stats and everything else, we know about rushing the quarterback – but when you needed a big play … And we had Champ [Bailey] at corner at that time, and Brian Dawkins and those guys, and some other pretty good football players. Elvis always seemed like the guy that made the play. That's the biggest thing that stood out to [me], because I went through the whole process. And when John talked he brought up a great point that I really forgot; when Elvis came out from Louisville, he said, 'I'm the best pass rusher in the draft.' And all he's done, year-in-and-year-out, is he's tried to be the best pass rusher. Not to take away from any of the other great pass rushers in this league, but his numbers show you he's been really successful."

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