Ray Lewis

Ellerbe says Eagles feel like 2012 Super Bowl Ravens

Ellerbe says Eagles feel like 2012 Super Bowl Ravens

With Jordan Hicks hurt and then Joe Walker hurt, the Eagles turned to veteran Dannell Ellerbe as their first-down linebacker late in the season.

Ellerbe, a nine-year veteran and a Super Bowl winner with the Ravens in 2012, signed with the Eagles on Nov. 13, and after playing just one snap his first five weeks here, he played 27 in the win over the Raiders and 48 in the regular-season finale against the Cowboys.

We spoke with Ellerbe about Ray Lewis, winning the Super Bowl and what he likes about this Eagles team on this week's "5 Minutes with Roob."

Roob: You came into the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2009. What were the challenges of starting your career undrafted?

Ellerbe: Originally, I was on the scouting reports with a first-round grade going into the draft, but I got hurt and some other things came up. So I just wanted to show that I belonged in the league. You have a guy with a first-round grade who’s an undrafted free agent, it’s not because of his play. So I decided to go to the Ravens because they’re known for defense, and it worked out.

Roob: You got to play from 2009 through 2012 in Baltimore with Ray Lewis. What was that like?

Ellerbe: One of the greatest to ever do it. He was a great guy to study and the energy that he brings, I haven’t been with anybody like him since.

Roob: You intercepted Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game back in 2012, helping the Ravens get to the Super Bowl. What's it like picking off the greatest quarterback ever on that stage?

Ellerbe: Our defense was clicking on all cylinders. So it was great. Everybody was making plays, so it was just my turn to make my play. I had a broken thumb so I had a big cast on my hand, and that made it even more special.

Roob: How tough was it being on the street the first three months of this season?

Ellerbe: I knew I was going to get picked up sooner or later. I was just trying to treat my body right and trying to stay in shape and keep working out. I got away from the game completely. I didn’t watch any games until I started getting interest from teams. I just wanted to be fresh.

Roob: Why did you ultimately choose to sign with the Eagles?

Ellerbe: I came here because this was the team that really wanted me. There was no turning them down.

Roob: How hard is it to get into shape to play regular-season football without a training camp?

Ellerbe: The only way you can be in football shape is to play football. Even when I come to training camp, I’m prepared, but the only way you can prepare to play football is to play football and getting those reps.

Roob: You’ve been here two months now. What’s your impression of this team?

Ellerbe: It’s like a family. It’s like a family. It’s like we felt when I was at the Ravens. Everybody vibing with everybody and everybody getting along. It just feels like a family atmosphere.

Roob: You’re one of several guys on this team that's won a Super Bowl. Malcolm Jenkins, Corey Graham, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount. What can you guys who’ve been to the top of the mountain teach the younger guys? 

Ellerbe: Basically just staying focused. At the end of the day, it’s still football. The only thing that magnifies this game is the outside, the outside people and the crowd. At the end of the day, we’re doing the same thing. We’re playing a nameless faceless team. We’ve just got to go out there and play our game.

Roob: Is that a tough lesson for young guys to learn?

Ellerbe: For the young guys right now, I don’t think they’ll fully understand it until they get older. They’re just living in the moment right now. But we try to preach to them that this is not guaranteed. My first four years in Baltimore, we were in the playoffs and I got used to being in the playoffs, and after we won the Super Bowl, I haven’t been back to the playoffs since, so this is my first playoff game since the Super Bowl.

Roob: That was a crazy Super Bowl. What do you remember about that moment?

Ellerbe: They cut the lights off! Winning it, it was a feeling like no other. I just started running around on the field. My body just left me. I just broke down and prayed. It was great.

NFL Notes: Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher eligible for HOF

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NFL Notes: Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher eligible for HOF

CANTON, Ohio -- Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and Brian Urlacher are among 11 first-year eligible players for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Also part of the 108 early nominees who are eligible for the first time, having been retired for five years when the class is chosen next February, are Ronde Barber, Donald Driver, Steve Smith (former Giant, Eagle and Ram), Steve Hutchinson, Matt Birk, Jeff Saturday, Richard Seymour and Kyle Vanden Bosch.

The roster of nominees consists of 53 offensive players, 38 defensive players, five special teams players and 12 coaches. Modern era nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and, from there, to 15 finalists in January.

During Super Bowl week, voters will discuss the finalists, plus senior nominees Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer and contributors nominee Bobby Beathard. There is no set number for any class of enshrinees, though between four and eight new members will be selected (see full story).

Cardinals: David Johnson on IR; Chris Johnson re-signs
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Cardinals have placed All-Pro David Johnson on injured reserve and re-signed veteran running back Chris Johnson.

The team also signed ex-Arizona State running back D.J. Foster, who grew up in nearby Scottsdale, off the New England practice squad.

The Cardinals had released Chris Johnson in their final roster cuts this year.

ESPN reported Tuesday that David Johnson would undergo surgery on his dislocated left wrist and would be sidelined two to three months.

Although the Cardinals didn't say anything about the surgery, placing him on injured reserve would seem to confirm the report. Under NFL rules, David Johnson would be eligible to come off IR in eight weeks, which coincides with the Cardinals' bye. But he could well be out another month after that.

Coach Bruce Arians said Monday that Johnson's injury was the same as that of Arizona rookie T.J. Logan. The timetable for Logan's return was eight to 12 weeks (see full story).

Bengals: ‘Pacman’ back after 1-game suspension
Adam "Pacman" Jones watched on television and winced as the Bengals stumbled through one of their worst season openers.

He's back from his NFL suspension aiming to help them get beyond it.

The cornerback served a one-game suspension for his offseason arrest and misdemeanor conviction. He was activated Tuesday and will start against the Texans at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday night.

The Bengals lost to the Ravens 20-0, the first time in their history that they were blanked in a season opener at home. Most of the issues involved the offense -- Andy Dalton had five turnovers -- but the young defense had bad moments as well.

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict has two games left on his latest NFL suspension (see full story).