Former pass rusher Elvis Dumervil exited the NFL last month the way most people would like to leave their professions. He did it voluntarily, and he did it with something left to contribute.
At 34, Dumervil could’ve played this year … and maybe more … because, as he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, he still has something to offer. But he had something to offer to his family, too, and that … more than anything … made what should have been a difficult decision easier.
“You think about kids,” he said. “And that’s another reason: I wanted to have kids later. I have kids, and I miss them going away on the weekends. It’s tough — especially on the West Coast last year (he played with the 49ers). With East Coast games, you have to leave two days before.
“The fire of playing football I think will always remains. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that part — the competitiveness. My body’s great. I feel like I can still help a team still win and play. But for me it was more (about the) offseason and spending time with my kids.
“It all depended on the right situation, and I didn’t think (there was ) the right situation with the teams I was talking to … there wasn’t a team I felt was a good match for both sides. I declined a few because I didn’t feel it was the right fit.”
With 105-1/2 career sacks, Dumervil ranks 26th all-time among the NFL’s best pass rushers. But since he joined the league in 2006, only three players — DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen and Julius Peppers — have more career sacks.
All three are Hall-of-Fame possibilities. Dumervil probably isn’t, though the guy left an impression where he played: In Denver, he led the league with 17 sacks in 2009, and in Baltimore he set a franchise record with another 17 in 2014.
He also had 23 career forced fumbles.
So it should come as no surprise that Dumervil had off-season interest from teams that wanted an effective outside pass rusher. But after listening to them and considering his options, he discovered that “the right situation” for him no longer was in the NFL.
It was at home.
“I never played this game to be a tag-along,” Dumervil said. “I respect the game too much. And I feel if I can’t be who I am … and the way I want to be contributing … it just wouldn’t make sense to me.”