An ESPN blog that ran this week offered an interesting look at the decision of linebacker Dannell Ellerbe to leave the Ravens and head for Miami.
The implication in the blog is that Ellerbe kind of wanted to get away from the shadow of Ray Lewis. Someone's got to replace the team's long-time defensive leader, but doing that is going to be a tough task for any player.
"I wanted to come to a team where I can be a leader, where they needed me, and I can be a voice on the team,” Ellerbe said to ESPN.com’s AFC East blog this week. “Basically, [the Dolphins] showed me that they really wanted me. ... They want me to be a leader of this defense.”
If Ellerbe had stayed in Baltimore, there's no question he'd be compared with Lewis on a regular basis. It's just going to happen to whoever's in the middle on defense. Maybe Ellerbe didn't want the legacy of Lewis hanging over him.
Now, Miami offered him a lot of money -- ESPN said it was five years, $35 million -- which probably had something to do with his decision. But there is no question that the kind of impact Ellerbe can have with the Dolphins is different than what would have happened here. That's a tough decision, and some players don't want to be the person who follows a legend.
It's not an easy place to be as comparisons start from day one and will never end. What is going to be interesting is to see how Ellerbe fares in Miami as a leader, and if he can become one.