The Broncos rewarded OLB Elvis Dumervil with a new contract July 22 following his first Pro Bowl season. Dumervil, who led the league in sacks (17) in 2009, signed a six-year, $61.5 million contract that included $43.156 million guaranteed.
PFW spoke with Dumervil as he prepared for the start of training camp. We discussed his new deal, why he believes his best days are still ahead of him and whether head coach Josh McDaniels has changed much since taking over as Denver's head coach before last season.
PFW: Your contract had been a hot topic throughout the offseason and a lot of people were wondering if the Broncos would give you a long-term contract. Was there any doubt in your mind that a deal would get done before the season?
Dumervil: I won't say doubt, but there was a lot of uncertainty due to the CBA, so both sides (understood that). I felt like I should be locked in because I'm a guy that wanted to be a Bronco and at the same the organization had to look out for its interests as well, so it was a tough situation for both sides. Give credit to the organization. I knew I had to have patience. It all just worked out well. There was a great open line of communication from both parties.
PFW: Were you ever frustrated with how long it was taking?
Dumervil: Not really. I kind of understood the Broncos' point of view and I think they understood my point of view. It was just a process. … It was two mature parties dealing with each other without all the drama. It worked out pretty well.
PFW: Is there some new pressure that comes along with having a deal of that magnitude?
Dumervil: Not really. … I may not have been a first-round pick, but I always felt like I should've been a first-rounder. I came out of college with high expectations anyway. A lot of people said, "well, maybe he can't do what he did in college in the NFL," so there was pressure with that. But me, I don't get too high and I don't get too low. I conduct business (in my own way) and I love the game. So to me, contract or not, I'm going to come out and play football and have fun. I don't dwell on the other stuff. As long as I be me, continue to work and get better, I feel like I have a pretty good chance of succeeding.
PFW: Have you watched much tape of yourself from last season?
Dumervil: Oh absolutely. You always have to get better. There are a lot of things I need to work on. I feel like I'm just getting started. That's the thing about it. That's the scary thing. Last year I was at a new position in this defense. I kind of felt like I was out of my element at times. Now I'm going out in OTAs and lining up the linebackers and knowing the defense. I just feel so much better than I felt last year going into the season. Now I feel like my body's in better condition and I'm more mature. We got a lot of great guys this year that came in, so I'm excited.
PFW: When you finished up the process of reviewing tape did you feel good about what you saw or were you focusing on things you could have done better?
Dumervil: For me personally, I learned from my dad to be honest with yourself. Never undermine the good things you do. You continue to get better and take pride in the things that you've done. At the same time, you have to understand what everybody is trying to do to beat you, so you've got to be hard on yourself. I got after the quarterback pretty well. I think I could do a little bit better with that. As far as (defending) the run, I think I could do a lot better (as well as) the coverage part. There's a lot I'm looking forward to working on in camp to become a better overall player.
PFW: People have pegged you as a pass rusher first. Do you not want that label?
Dumervil: No, I love it. Pass rush is one of the hardest things to do in this game. It's not my fault that I've been blessed with being a great rusher. That goes right in one ear and out the other ear. (People say) 'Oh, he's just a pass rusher.' Well, you know what? That's a pretty important job. It's something that you can't coach. You can coach run blocking and you can coach coverage, but getting after that quarterback is something you can't coach. Fortunately I was blessed with it. … My run defense will never be as good as my pass rush, obviously, so you're going to always hear those things and I understand it. I'm not mad at them.
PFW: I'm wondering what you learned about the organization through this whole contract process. What did you find out about GM Brian Xanders or other people in the front office that you didn't know already?
Dumervil: I have always heard Pat Bowlen was first-class, but the hands-on experience … there was never, excuse my French, any (B.S.) type of talk. There was always an open line of communication. It was always straight forward. … We just negotiated. Both sides knew it was going to be difficult, but the open line of communication was very first-class. It was good to be drafted by a team like this. … Now I truly believe the Denver Broncos are a first-class organization.
PFW: Josh McDaniels is entering his second year as head coach. Is he any different than he was one year ago?
Dumervil: I think so. He's a very passionate coach. I love that about him. I think as a head coach he may tone it down a little. I don't know. I love his personality. … I think he's a smart coach. He breaks (the game) down for the guys. He really simplifies the game. I think everybody's beating to the same drum now. Everybody's heading in the same direction. I think the whole atmosphere is different. He's really installed this winning atmosphere. I'm excited about this year.
For authoritative coverage and analysis of NFL news, free agency and fantasy football, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.