Elvis Dumervil deserved better than a painful end to run with Ravens

Dumervil not an every down player anymore (1:35)

Tedy Bruschi, Herm Edwards and Merril Hoge examine how much interest Elvis Dumervil will garner after being released by the Ravens. (1:35)

Elvis Dumervil came to the Baltimore Ravens four years ago, when a fateful fax fiasco landed him on the defending Super Bowl champions with hopes of pursuing a title.

He left the Ravens on Wednesday as a salary-cap cut after one of the most challenging seasons of his impressive, 11-year NFL career.

Dumervil battled issues with his Achilles for the last two seasons, and he never used it as a excuse for his declining sack totals. He didn't even acknowledge he had offseason Achilles surgery until days before his final game with the Ravens.

This painful farewell doesn't befit a highly regarded leader who set the franchise's single-season sack record in 2014. He never really regained his explosion last season and estimated he was playing at 85 percent. It was far from the form he showed a couple of years ago, when Dumervil was repeatedly beating tackles off the edge and caused havoc for quarterbacks.

"Although we didn't reach our ultimate goal of winning a championship, I will never forget my time with the Ravens," Dumervil posted on Twitter.

In 2014, Dumervil finished third in the NFL in sacks and broke Peter Boulware's 13-year-old team record. He also recorded two sacks in the upset victory over the Steelers in the playoffs.

His 2015 season was just as impressive, even though the numbers didn't show it. After Terrell Suggs suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the opener, Dumervil accepted an every-down role and gutted out all 16 games while enduring problems with his own Achilles.

Last offseason, Dumervil underwent surgery on the Achilles but would only call it publicly a procedure in the foot area. He missed half of last season and finished with a career-worst 3.5 sacks -- one short of his milestone 100th career sack.

How Dumervil conducted himself garnered respect in the locker room. Minutes after he posted that parting message to fans, teammates applauded his character on Twitter.

  • Safety Anthony Levine: "Classy is a understatement when talking about Doom much respect my brother"

  • Fullback Kyle Juszczyk: "Talk about a first class guy! @EKD92 is the definition of a professional #WayToBeAPro"

  • Linebacker Zach Orr: "Great player even better person/teammate! #respect"

The Ravens really had no choice in this decision. Dumervil was a prime candidate to get cut based on his age (33) and fourth-highest cap figure on the team ($8.375 million). Baltimore desperately needs that $6 million in cap space gained by parting ways with Dumervil.

General manager Ozzie Newsome didn't rule out Dumervil coming back to Baltimore.

"We have not close the door on the possibility of him returning in the future," Newsome said in a statement.

That doesn't appear likely given Dumervil's farewell message on Twitter and the expected interest from other teams. He enters a free-agent market that lacks pass-rushers after three of the top ones (Chandler Jones, Jason Pierre-Paul and Melvin Ingram) all received franchise tags.

Wherever Dumervil goes, that team is going to get a motivated pass-rusher who has something to prove after last year's tough season.