Baltimore Ravens unrestricted free agent LB Dannell Ellerbe checked into my show “The Reality Check” Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We talked about the contract talks between his agent and the team, his “challenge” that he could outrun Manti Te’o backwards (he was kidding) and how much he wanted to return to Charm City next season.
He had one request before I let him go.
“That’s how much I want to be in Baltimore. Tell everyone to start a petition!”
So we did. My producer Ryan Chell and I started a petition to ask the Baltimore Ravens to keep their former undrafted free agent LB right here in Charm City.
I want you to sign it, too. You can go right here to do that.
Since we’re here, I should definitely take a minute to tell you why I’m so particularly interested in seeing the former Georgia backer stick around.
I start by mentioning that Ellerbe is a damn good football player. But you already knew that from watching the games this season. Ellerbe has gone from undrafted and fighting to separate himself from other young linebackers like Tavares Gooden to becoming one of the NFL’s most consistent inside performers. When healthy in 2012, Ellerbe may well have been the team’s best defensive player, outperforming two future Hall of Famers and perennial Pro Bowlers like Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata.
Despite a number of injuries (which forced to miss all three games during the Ravens’ late season slide), Ellerbe returned to have a stellar postseason. He made what may well have been the game saving tackle on Frank Gore’s late run in Super Bowl XLVII, helping the Ravens finish off their second title.
You of course already knew all of that.
But there are other reasons I really want to see Dannell Ellerbe return.
I want to see him return because I’m inspired by a guy who fought to go from undrafted and scratching to get in on Special Teams to being a dependable high-level performer.
I want to see him return because he cares so much about the city of Baltimore and wants so badly to remain here.
I want to see him return because the Ravens are obviously losing Ray Lewis and will be in a very difficult place to lose their best inside linebacker as well. Behind Lewis and Ellerbe, the Ravens have just Jameel McClain coming back from a neck injury, Josh Bynes, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Albert McClellan at the position.
I want to see him return because I’ve been impressed by his maturation both on and off the field. He admitted to me begrudgingly earlier in the season that maturation has come even if he didn’t believe he needed it. Dannell has overcome a reputation of being someone who didn’t always care as much as he needed to in order to become a player that spends extra time watching film in the locker room.
I want to see him return because he’s always made himself available to us and hasn’t changed as he’s become more successful. He never hid at a time when he was hurt or at a time when he didn’t have a great game. Dannell has always been available to answer questions. He’s always said yes when we’ve asked him to come on the radio. He’s never dodged anything.
Dannell Ellerbe has been a picture of someone I want to have as a Raven. I really hope this will work out so that Dannell can return before or after the open of free agency in two weeks.
He wanted a petition and he’s absolutely worthy of one. Ravens fans signed petitions to fire Cam Cameron in droves. I’d like to hope that signing a petition to support one of the team’s better defensive players would be just as easy.
Let’s try again. Click right here to sign the petition. Then I want you to share it via your Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or whatever other social media sites you use. I want you to text and email it to your friends. I don’t want this to be about WNST, I want it to be Dannell. He’s already shared this himself via social media. He’s involved. He’d love to see the support as he enters free agency for the first time in his career. He deserves it.
Go sign the petition. Say thanks to Dannell. Let him know you want him back.
It’s what he told me he wanted.