Restricted Free Agent Dannell Ellerbe Signs

ILB Dannell Ellerbe inked his reported second-round tender on Tuesday.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe reported to the Ravens’ strength and conditioning program Tuesday and signed his tender, taking the restricted free agent officially off the market.

Ellerbe was reportedly offered a second-round tender worth $1.92 million for the 2012 season.

“It’s always a blessing to be back,” Ellerbe said Tuesday. “It’s very flattering to get a second-round tender. The coaches always tell me they believe in me and have faith in me. They expect good things out of me.”

The former undrafted free agent has been on one-year contracts ever since he’s been in Baltimore. Now he’s working toward a long-term deal to be in Baltimore for a long time, he said.

He and cornerback Cary Williams were the Ravens’ only two remaining restricted free agents.

Williams has not reported to the team’s strength and conditioning program yet because he is rehabbing a hip injury. General Manager Ozzie Newsome also said they are working out a long-term contract with Williams.

Ellerbe, 26, played in nine games last season, including three starts. He made 18 tackles.

He is known as a big thumper in the run game and also has the athleticism to drop in pass coverage.

The Georgia product’s stats have dropped each of his three years in the league, however.

As a rookie in 2009, he played in 13 games, started three, and made 41 tackles and an interception. He became the starter by the end of the year and was key in the playoff-clinching Week 17 win in Oakland.

Ellerbe was beat out by Jameel McClain for the starting job the following season. He played in 11 games, made one start and recorded 31 tackles and one sack.

He said he matured last season, but this time was plagued by injuries. A hamstring, then groin injury kept him sidelined for five games and he later suffered a concussion that kept him out of one game.

“I came into last season feeling great and went about it in a more professional way than I had in the past,” Ellerbe said. “But I guess my body wasn’t used to all the stretching and massages and all that stuff. Hopefully this year I’ll be more used to it.”

Ellerbe was a big part of the Ravens’ AFC championship game, however. He was largely assigned to cover tight end Rob Gronkowski and did an effective job. Ellerbe got the start and recorded three tackles.

With McClain and Ayanbadejo re-signing, Ellerbe will once again have competition at the inside linebacker spot in 2012.

“I’ve just got to make plays when it’s time to make plays,” Ellerbe said. “I’ve got to get my hands back on the ball. It’s been a long time since I’ve got a pick in a game. I’m trying to get a touchdown this year too.”

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