Dumervil vows to re­turn healthy and pro­duc­tive

LB’s foot in­jury strug­gles have been a bit un­nerv­ing

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Edward Lee

For a player who throws his body at op­po­nents to stop them from gain­ing yardage, Elvis Dumervil has been sur­pris­ingly durable. In five sea­sons be­fore this one, he missed just three of 80 games.

So this foot in­jury that the Ravens out­side line­backer can’t seem to shake is baf­fling be­cause he thought he had ad­dressed it by un­der­go­ing surgery in the off­sea­son. But when times have got­ten par­tic­u­larly stress­ful, Dumervil, 32, has been able to put aside his wor­ries and fo­cus on his wife, Jen­nifer, and their new­born daugh­ter, Ella.

“Wheny­ougo through things in life and there are things that you can’t con­trol, you get frus­trated,” Dumervil said last week. “But the one thing that makes it go away is my wife and my fam­ily. You kind of lean on them more, and you re­al­ize that there’s still life. And that kind of helps you step away and ap­pre­ci­ate it more when you go back to work.”

Work — or in Dumervil’s case, sack­ing quar­ter­backs — has been an elu­sive task. He has sat out eight of 10 games this sea­son, in­clud­ing Sun­day’s 27-17 loss to the Dal­las Cow­boys, de­spite practicing fully Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day last week.

Dumervil was down­graded to lim­ited par­tic­i­pa­tion in Fri­day’s ses­sion and was des­ig­nated as doubt­ful for the game.

Coach John Har­baugh said Dumervil did not suf­fer a set­back in prac­tice but was held out on the train­ers’ rec­om­men­da­tions.

“Like I said, that’s up to the doc­tors,” Har­baugh said Mon­day. “That’s the med­i­cal staff that makes those de­ci­sions. That’s how it works.”

At first, Har­baugh said he had no ex­pec­ta­tions for Dumervil. Then he said he thinks Dumervil can still be an im­pact player.

“I hope he has 10 sacks,” Har­baugh said. “That’s what I’m hop­ing for. I’m hop­ing he just lights it up and dom­i­nates. I’m hop­ing he’s the dif­fer­ence. … [But] I just don’t have an an­swer. If he’s out there, I ex­pect him to play great.”

Ma­jor in­juries have been a rar­ity for Dumervil. Aside from miss­ing the en­tire 2010 sea­son be­cause of a torn pec­toral mus­cle in train­ing camp, Dumervil has been a near-con­stant pres­ence on the field, first for the Den­ver Bron­cos and then the Ravens.

Dumervil still re­mem­bers tear­ing his pec­toral Aug. 4, 2010 — just two weeks af­ter sign­ing a six-year, $61.5 mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion, which in­cluded more than $43 mil­lion in guar­an­teed money from Den­ver.

“It was dev­as­tat­ing,” he said. “So this time around, I think God kind of pre­pared me to show my growth, in terms of how to deal with ad­ver­sity.”

Some of Dumervil’s clos­est friends on the Ravens said he hasn’t changed while he has been re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing his foot. Wide re­ceiver Ka­mar Aiken and out­side line­backer Al­bert McClel­lan joked that Dumervil still in­sists he knows ev­ery­thing.

“He’s the same Doom. He’s the same guy with all of the an­swers,” McClel­lan said. “But he still helps us out. He helps all the guys rush­ing the passer. He’ll let us know what he sees on the film and what he looks at, and he also helps us watch film the way he watches film. So noth­ing re­ally has changed with Doom.”

Aiken — whose older brother, Leon Wood­stock, at­tended Jack­son High in Mi­ami with Dumervil — said he has not seen the in­jury de­press his team­mate.

“I wouldn’t say dis­cour­aged, but frus­trat­ing, yeah,” Aiken said of Dumervil’s de­meanor. “That’s what anybody goes through with any in­jury. The re­hab process is bor­ing, it’s repet­i­tive, it’s the same thing ev­ery day. He just had to be pa­tient.”

Many Ravens fans re­mem­ber Du- Ravens out­side line­backer Elvis Dumervil sat out eight of 10 games this sea­son, in­clud­ing Sun­day’s 27-17 loss to the Cow­boys, de­spite practicing fully last week. mervil’s 2014 sea­son, when he set the fran­chise record for sacks with 17. Most as­sume he will never reach that level again, re­gard­less of health, but Dumervil has set a high stan­dard for him­self.

“I ex­pect the same thing,” he said. “Last year was rough on a lot of lev­els. There were a lot of chips and dou­ble teams, and that was a bru­tal year. This year is a great op­por­tu­nity. We’ve got Eric Wed­dle, and we’ve got a lot of the guys that were young last year that have ma­tured and are play­ing at a high level. Hav­ing [fel­low out­side line­backer Ter­rell] Suggs back [from a torn Achilles ten­don] helps. So I just know that I won’t be the only fo­cus point, as it was last year. I know if I can get my one-on-ones, my goal is to al­ways beat my guy. If I get dou­ble- or triple-teamed with the weapons we have now, they’re go­ing to pay for it.”

The im­me­di­ate ques­tion is whether Dumervil will be able to con­trib­ute to the Ravens with just six games re­main­ing in the reg­u­lar sea­son. The long-term ques­tion is whether he will be with the team next fall.

Dumervil is sched­uled to count nearly $8.4 mil­lion against the salary cap in 2017 be­fore be­com­ing an un­re­stricted free agent in 2018, ac­cord­ing to Spo­trac, a web­site that tracks con­tracts in pro­fes­sional sports.

Dumervil said he be­lieves he can con­tinue to play in the NFL: “Re­tire­ment is nowhere near my vi­sion.”

NOTE: The Chicago Bears signed quar­ter­back David Fales off the prac­tice squad, ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple re­ports. Fales, who has never played in an NFL game, was signed, re­leased and signed again by the Ravens this month. The Bears, who drafted Fales out of San Jose State in 2014, are deal­ing with a shoul­der in­jury to start­ing quar­ter­back Jay Cut­ler.

KARL MERTON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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