The last time that Elvis Dumervil collaborated with linebackers coach Don "Wink" Martindale, he led the entire NFL in sacks when he was with the Denver Broncos.
Four years after recording 17 sacks in Denver, the Pro Bowl pass rusher has reunited with his old position coach in Baltimore after joining the Ravens on a five-year, $35 million maximum value deal.
Besides paying him a $7.5 million signing bonus, ownership of Super Bowl champion status and 3-4 defensive scheme that fits Dumervil ideally, the Ravens had another important edge in recruiting the 29-year-old: Martindale.
"We have more of a family type friendship, me and him speak often," Dumervil said during his introductory press conference. "We did talk a little bit more during the whole free agent process. I've always seen him as a good mentor. He's always been honest with me. He's always been a straight shooter. I've always admired that about him. So just talking to him was huge."
Martindale had remained in touch with Dumervil ever since the Broncos cut the 5-foot-11, 260-pounder following a fax snafu and blown NFL deadline that forced the AFC West franchise to release him rather than pay him $12 million guaranteed for this year.
"Obviously, Elvis and I got really close back in Denver, not just because of the player that he is, although that helps when he's sacking the quarterback, but also as a person," said Martindale, who coaches the Ravens' inside linebackers. "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, we know about rushing the quarterback, but when you needed a big play, Elvis always seemed liek the guy that made the play."
The chemistry between Dumervil, who will primarily be coached by linebackers coach Ted Monachino, and Martindale was on display during the press conference.
Especially when Dumervil was asked about his lack of stature for a linebacker.
"Here we go with the short jokes," Dumervil said.
Then, Martindale chimed in: 'First of all, he's 6-foot, alright? We've had that argument for years. I'm 6-3, but he's 6-foot."
Following the press conference, Martindale further discussed his rapport with Dumervil.
"Coaching and relationships, that's the No. 1 thing in being a coach," Martindale said. "We grew really close. I helped him get through some things and he's helped me. He's a good person. Without sounding like a dad who's proud of his kid, it was real easy to talk to him about Baltimore. He wants a ring."
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