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Dumervil officially joins Baltimore
Elvis Dumervil has nothing bad to say about his time in Denver. He even considered staying with the Broncos after a fax snafu made him a free agent.
When it came time to choose his future in the NFL, however, the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end decided it was best to play for a winner in a different city.
Dumervil passed his physical and signed a five-year contract with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday. Wearing a checkered shirt and a broad grin, the 6-foot, 260-pounder fondly looked back on his time in Denver and eagerly spoke about the next, maybe final, stage of his NFL career.
"Sometimes you have to make a decision. You pray about it," Dumervil said. "At the end of the day there was no ill will or hard feelings. I just felt it was a time to change scenery."
The 29-year-old Dumervil became a free agent after his representative, whom was subsequently fired, was late in delivering the paperwork accepting a reduction in salary. So the Broncos had to release him, and after weighing offers from Denver and Baltimore, Dumervil picked the Ravens.
"It was an unfortunate situation," Dumervil acknowledged. "Obviously leaving a really good organization like the Denver Broncos, they're proven winners. I have nothing but good things to say about the organization. But when an opportunity came that I could come to another winner and a first-class organization, it was just leaving one great one to another great one. So I took it."
The Ravens wasted almost no time pursuing the hard-charging pass rusher, especially after an offseason in which they lost free agents Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams, cut safety Bernard Pollard and traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
So general manager Ozzie Newsome worked out a salary-cap friendly deal with around $35 million. After receiving a bit of encouragement via text message from Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, Dumervil accepted.
"I've known Terrell Suggs for a long time. He's a great player, man," Dumervil said. "He plays the run and rushes the passer. A great personality. I'm excited so we can merge, and obviously (linebacker Courtney) Upshaw as well, to try and get after quarterbacks."
Coach John Harbaugh could barely contain his excitement.
"We just feel like Elvis Dumervil is our kind of guy," he said. "We like to say things like, "He's a Raven.' That's how he's always played. We loved him coming out of Louisville. In some ways, I don't want to say we feared him, but we certainly respected him as a football player, trying to game plan all around him."
Dumervil played in all 16 games with the Broncos last season, serving as team captain and registering 11 sacks for the top-seeded team in the AFC. Over seven seasons he has 63 ½ sacks, an interception and 17 forced fumbles.
His last game with Denver turned out to be a bitter overtime loss to the Ravens in the playoffs.
"I was in a hole for about a week," Dumervil said.
Before the fax debacle, he was willing to take a pay cut to stay in Denver.
"I was drafted there. Honestly, I never intended to leave Denver," Dumervil said. "But things happen. It's just the way life is. It's not like I'm the only person this happens to. A lot of guys have to make decisions."
His decision to come to Baltimore was influenced in part by his relationship with Ravens inside linebackers coach Don Martindale, who coached Dumervil at Denver and played a part in convincing his former student to switch teams.
"As a coach, it's all about relationships," Martindale said. "Obviously, Elvis and I got really close back to Denver, not just because of the player he is, although that helps when he's sacking the quarterback. But also as a person. I'm happy for both the Ravens and Elvis."
No one in the room seemed happier than Dumervil, who joins a team with a reputation for playing rugged defense — and winning.
"Obviously I wanted to be somewhere where I felt like it was a family-type feel," Dumervil said. "I knew the next choice I had to make was a place I felt like was stable, winners, was tough and loves football — and seems fun. From the top on down, from the owner, Ozzie and John and obviously having a relationship with (Martindale) and the guys in that locker room, I felt it was a great opportunity to finish my career."
Packers hang on to Finley
Jermichael Finley is ready for the increased expectations that are sure to come with his increased salary.
The Green Bay Packers opted to pay their mercurial tight end a $3 million roster bonus rather than cut him by 4 p.m. Monday afternoon. Though Finley swears he wasn't watching the clock, he took to Twitter shortly after the deadline passed, saying, "Ecstatic 2 b back w (at)packers. Best place on earth."
"It's a great opportunity to stay with a great organization and a great quarterback to move forward and win more championships," Finley told the (Milwaukee) Journal Sentinel. "I'm ready to take my game to another level. Every player wants to achieve as much as possible. In my case, I want to get back to what I know and that's playing great football."
The Packers have long been enamored with Finley's size — he's 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds — speed and strength. Not only is he a big target for Aaron Rodgers, but he draws multiple defenders and can block just about anyone. He set a Packers record for receptions by a tight end last season, finishing with 61 catches for 676 yards and two touchdowns.
But there were some who wondered if his inconsistency early in the season made him expendable. Finley dropped numerous balls and complained about his role in the offense.
"I really felt Jermichael Finley was a different man, a different player from the bye week on," coach Mike McCarthy said after the Packers lost to San Francisco in the playoffs. "I feel very good about the way he finished the year. ... But we obviously have to look at the first half, too, and make sure that's part of the evaluation because we're all judged on 17 games."
Despite his increased price tag — his salary this season will be $8.25 million — Finley's youth and potential convinced the Packers he was worth keeping. Green Bay also couldn't afford to let another big piece of their offense go, having already lost top receiver Greg Jennings to rival Minnesota and tight end Tom Crabtree to Tampa Bay.
"I love the expectations that I have to meet this year," Finley said. "I have to make it happen."
Giants will wear alternate uniforms
The New York Giants will be changing their pants when they wear their alternate uniform this season.
The Giants announced Tuesday that instead of their traditional gray pants, they will wear white pants and blue jerseys for undisclosed select games. The team said it will not wear the white pants with their white jerseys.
The white pants will have a thin red stripe bordered by gray and blue stripes.
Under NFL rules, the Giants have the option to alternate three pant styles in their uniform system. They last wore white pants in 1999, the final season they had "GIANTS" on their helmets in italics and all-white road uniforms. The following year, the Giants began wearing uniforms that featured the distinctive "NY" on the helmets and gray pants.
Vince Young throws at Texas pro timing day
Vince Young picked familiar ground in trying to revive his sinking NFL career.
The quarterback used Tuesday's pro timing day workouts at the University of Texas to throw passes for scouts from dozens of teams.
Seven years earlier, Young used the same venue to make his case as the top quarterback in the draft. On Tuesday, he was trying to convince someone that he's worthy of a roster spot.
Young has been out of football since he was cut by the Buffalo Bills before last season. He came back to Texas, where's he enrolled in school to finish his degree and has been working out with hopes of getting another shot in the NFL.
Young worked out for about 30 minutes and declined to talk to reporters afterward.