Cowherd: Dumervil should prepare to be a leader on the Ravens' defense

The Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil on becoming a leader, said "before you become a leader, you must learn how to follow." (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

Elvis Dumervil had just settled in to meet the media after the Ravens' workout Wednesday when a voice rang out behind the semi-circle of TV cameras, tape recorders and notebooks.

"What the hell, Elvis?!" Joe Flacco yelled in mock outrage.

The Ravens' quarterback was pretending to be upset that Dumervil was going before him at the podium, even though talking to reporters is something Flacco enjoys about as much as heartburn.

Dumervil just shrugged and smiled. There are perks for being a three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher and the Ravens' biggest offseason acquisition, too. And maybe he was getting his first taste of that in Baltimore with a breeze to the podium.

In any event, Wednesday's OTAs provided our first real look at Dumervil, the 29-year-old outside linebacker who left the Denver Broncos because of a clerical error — you could Google it, it's a hoot — and signed a five-year deal with the Ravens that could pay him as much as $35 million.

First impressions? I've got a few.

He's not very tall — listed at 5-foot-11, which means he's probably closer to 5-10, since everybody in the NFL lies about their height and weight.

But he has a massive chest — he looked like he's wearing a small refrigerator door under that jersey. He moves well and loves being in the weight room and around his new teammates at the Under Armour Performance Center, where he might as well have his own room and key.

"He's been here every day," John Harbaugh said. "He hasn't missed one thing since he's been here. I feel like he's emerging as a leader for our football team, and he's had no problems learning the defense."

But here's the thing: Dumervil doesn't seem to want to hear about that leader stuff — at least not yet.

After the Ravens' coach left the podium, Dumervil was asked three different times, in three different ways — oh, yeah, we can be smooth as velvet at these news conferences — if he was ready to be a leader on this team.

The questions were understandable, of course. The Ravens defense underwent a complete overhaul in the offseason. Gone are the great Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, as well as Bernard Pollard, Dannell Ellerbe, Cary Williams and Paul Kruger.

Someone has to step up to fill that leadership void. It can't all fall on the shoulders of Terrell Suggs, who's coming back from both a torn Achilles tendon and a torn biceps, too.

And who better to fill it than a high-motor veteran who had 63 sacks and 17 forced fumbles in his six seasons in Denver?

Still, Dumervil appears to want no part of that conversation at this point.

When asked if he thought the coaches were pushing him to be a leader to some of the younger guys, he shook his head.

"I wouldn't call it pushing," he said. "I'm just coming here, just being who I am. I think I learned a lot from a lot of good guys when I came into the game, [former Broncos] Al Wilson, John Lynch, Rod Smith and [current Denver safety] Champ Bailey . . . I think before you become a good leader, you've got to follow."

Well, maybe.

But the Ravens aren't bringing Dumervil to Baltimore and paying him all that loot to be a follower.

This is an impact player who led the league with 17 sacks four years ago for the Broncos. This is a guy who averaged 12.5 sacks over his last three seasons, a guy who should team with Suggs to give the Ravens one of the best pass-rushing twosomes in the league.

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