ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It's been a long offseason for everyone in the NFL.
"It’s been a journey," the defensive end said Wednesday. "I was able to reflect on life and appreciate everything. It’s been a stressful year. I have a great supporting cast, around a lot of great people, family. It was tough at times, but for the most part I think I learned a lot and appreciate life. I’m excited. Ready to jump out of my skin, that’s for sure."
Dumervil, who led the league with 17.5 sacks in 2009, missed the entire 2010 campaign after tearing a pectoral muscle in training camp last year.
It's a situation he "would never wish on anyone," he said, as he was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Broncos headed to a 4-12 season.
While his teammates were on the field, he was recovering from surgery, working with Head Athletic Trainer Steve "Greek" Antonopulos just to get to the point where he could run and lift weights again.
That time came in Februrary.
"Once I was able to start lifting weights and running, I took advantage of that, and it just makes you appreciate everything," Dumervil said. "It makes you appreciate working out and just the little things that you never noticed. I’m thankful for having a whole new perspective playing football and I’m just that much more hungry."
Dumervil gained 15 pounds, trimmed his body fat and mentally prepared to step back into the role of defensive end -- the position he played for his first three years in the league.
When asked if changing positions is even harder without any OTAs or minicamps before training camp, Dumervil said he doesn't think of it that way.
"It’s kind of refreshing actually to go back to a position I’m used to," he said. "Going back to defensive end on such a short notice is really beneficial to me."
He said the energy level is high in the building, especially from Allen, who he described as "fired up."
"After having a conversation with him, he’s just a guy who’s going to attack people," he said. "I love his mentality. He’s just a guy that gets you fired up just talking to him. So I can imagine on how he is on the field. I know he got me going and I was just sitting down.”
Dumervil likes the pieces that are in place, and he can't wait to finally get back on the field. After all, it's been nearly a full year.
"It’s not nervous. It’s more of a -- I can’t explain it," Dumervil grinned. "I’m excited, very excited. I think I have a lot to let out, so I’m ready to roll."