When the six-game suspension of Denver Broncos star outside linebacker Von Miller for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy became official Tuesday, one of the first questions posed to executive vice president of football operations John Elway was if the AFC West club was aware that Miller could be punished at the time that Elvis Dumervil was released.
Apparently, they had no clue about the pending NFL discipline for Miller at the time of the Dumervil situation.
“You’re saying did I know about Von before Elvis?" Elway told Denver reporters in a transcript provided by the Broncos. "Not at all. I can tell you I think we heard about Von sometime in May if I remember right. I can’t give you the specific date but no, it wasn’t even close.”
Dumervil was cut in March following a blown deadline on a proposed restructured contract where the Broncos didn't get the paperwork into the league in time. That prompted the Broncos to cut the Pro Bowl outside linebacker from the roster rather than absorb a huge salary-cap hit.
The Ravens pounced as soon as Dumervil hit the market. They quickly got in touch with Dumervil, who fired his previous agent, and wound up signing a $35 million maximum value deal with the Super Bowl champions in March.
Months later, the Ravens have Dumervil in place as a bookend pass rusher working opposite former NFL Defensive Player of the Year outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. And the Broncos, having lost Dumervil, now don't have Miller available for a Sept. 5 rematch against the Ravens, who defeated Denver in the AFC divisional round with a dramatic double-overtime victory.
The Ravens couldn't be happier with the acquisition of Dumervil, who was recruited by Baltimore inside linebackers coach Don "Wink" Martindale, his former position coach in Denver.
"Just personally, I didn’t know Elvis until he got here," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Don Martindale knew him really well, and Don talked a lot about him, what a great guy he was, and a hard worker, and how much we would really like him. I would say it’s far beyond the descriptions I got, just that much better of a guy, a pro, a player. I’ll give you an example: We do the stretching.
"He’s in there at least three times a day, taking care of himself with the stretching and the different things we do for recovery. That’s what a pro does, practices so hard. I really think between he and Suggs and [Courtney] Upshaw, and the other pass rushers, but he’s kind of leading the way, he’s made our offensive tackles that much better just by the way he practices. So, 4.0 [grade point average] across the board for Elvis Dumervil."