Dumervil 'a perfect fit' for Ravens

Newly signed defensive end/outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil shakes hands with Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh after being introduced during a press conference in Owings Mills Tuesday, March 26, 2013.
Newly signed defensive end/outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil shakes hands with Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh after being introduced during a press conference in Owings Mills Tuesday, March 26, 2013.(Carroll County Times)

OWINGS MILLS - John Harbaugh talked Tuesday of Elvis Dumervil being "a perfect fit" for the Baltimore Ravens.

He labeled Dumervil as "our kind of guy" and called the signing of Dumervil "very exciting."

Dumervil was a player Harbaugh wanted immediately upon learning of the bizarre circumstances that led to Dumervil being released by the Denver Broncos earlier this month.

Not like the interest should come as a surprise.

The Ravens were in the market for a pass rusher after losing Paul Kruger as a free agent, and Dumervil has long been considered one of the league's most dynamic players at getting after the quarterback.

"We knew right away that Elvis would be a perfect fit if we could make it happen," Harbaugh said Tuesday at a news conference to announce Dumervil's signing.

The biggest obstacle for the Ravens was making a Dumervil deal work from a financial standpoint.

Baltimore has limited money to spend under the salary cap and Dumervil is still just 29 years old and made a combined $28 million with the Broncos the last two seasons.

But the Ravens made it happen, working out a five-year deal with Dumervil that has a maximum value of $35 million but counts just $2.5 million against the salary cap this season.

By doing that, Baltimore adds one of the NFL's premier pass rushers and a significant piece in its efforts to restock a defense that has already parted ways with several key pieces from last year's team.

Said Harbaugh: "We're really excited to have him here on our team, really excited to have him here today as part of our organization."

Dumervil is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He missed the 2010 season due to injury, but he has 37.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in the last 45 games he's played in dating back to 2009.

Aside from a five-sack year in 2008, Dumervil has finished with no less than 9.5 sacks in any of the four seasons in which he's played at least 14 games.

He had 11 sacks and six forced fumbles last year and had an NFL-best 17 sacks in 2009 under the guidance of current Ravens inside linebackers coach Don Martindale.

Martindale was the Broncos' linebackers coach in 2009 before taking over as the team's defensive coordinator in 2010.

"There's no task too big for him," Martindale said of Dumervil. "Whatever you need him to do, he's going to do it. But the thing that jumps out to me the most from our time in Denver was ... when you needed a big play, and at that time we had [other high-profile defensive players], but Elvis always seemed like the guy that made the play. That's the biggest thing that stood out."

As excited as Baltimore is to be adding Dumervil, and as happy as Dumervil said he is to be joining the Ravens, he acknowledged Tuesday that it wasn't easy leaving the Broncos, even after the well-documented fax machine fiasco that led to his release earlier this month.

Dumervil was selected by Denver in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft and spent each of his first seven seasons with the Broncos.

And despite releasing Dumervil, Denver remained hopeful of retaining him up until his agreeing to terms with the Ravens Sunday night.

"At the end of the day, I was drafted there [and] I never intended on leaving Denver," Dumervil said. "But, like I said, things happen ... and sometimes you just have to make a decision. ... And at the end of the day, there was no ill-will. There [were] no hard feelings. I just felt it was a time to change scenery. ...

"I knew the next choice I would have to make would be somewhere I felt like was stable, winners and a place that was tough and loves football. And from the top on down ... and the guys I felt were in the locker room, I felt this was a great [place] to finish my career."

Martindale, and his relationship with Dumervil, was also key in Dumervil's decision to leave Denver for Baltimore.

Dumervil said he also had conversations with Ravens Pro Bowl defenders Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs prior to signing.

And it's with Suggs now that, on paper, Dumervil helps form one of the league's most formidable pass rushing duos.

Since Dumervil entered the NFL in 2006, he and Suggs have combined totals of 117.5 sacks and 32 forced fumbles.

But one of the things that Martindale said has him most excited about Baltimore signing Dumervil is that Dumervil will be working under Ravens linebackers coach Ted Monachino.

Said Martindale: "Ted's coaching him, and Ted knows how to get people after the quarterback. ... He's going to have a lot of fun here."

Coincidentally, that "fun" may start with a game against Dumervil's now former team, as it appears likely at this point that Denver will be the team to host Baltimore in the NFL's Thursday night season opener.

Asked about the potential of that scenario Tuesday, Dumervil smiled and said: "You just gave me goosebumps."