Baltimore Ravens linebacker and former Richmond Raider standout Dannell Ellerbe took time out of his busy schedule to spend some time with the elderly Tuesday afternoon at the Rockingham Manor nursing home.
Ellerbe, who is from Hamlet, talked and signed autographs with both residents and staff at the rest home for close to an hour. Ellerbe was accompanied by his stepfather, Robert Covington, and mother, Valerie Covington.
Ellerbe said he was honored to bring a little bit of enjoyment to those who battle adversity on a daily basis.
“To come up here and see their faces light up, especially since they don’t know me, words can’t describe that,” Ellerbe said.
“I know most of these people don’t want to be here, and they’d rather be in their house doing their own thing. I just came here to hopefully cheer them up a little bit, and I felt it was a good thing to do.”
Ellerbe added both he and Robert had talked in the past few weeks about making rounds in the area. Robert made a call to Rockingham Manor administrator Chad Colby on Tuesday, who appreciated Ellerbe for coming by.
“It’s really surreal because a lot of residents spend their whole life in the Richmond County area, and will never meet somebody that plays for an NFL team,” Colby said.
“This is something that they can talk about for years. We’re going to put his autographed picture in a frame, and hang it in our sports area.”
Ellerbe is hoping to do even more in the community, and has a future offseason project in mind.
“I know there’s not a whole lot going on around here,” Ellerbe said. “I’m hoping to maybe get a camp going sometime soon. I’ve been talking to somebody about that, but it’s still in the makings. I want to do it for ages up to 18 to come out and do some drills.”
Ellerbe will start offseason training next week. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Ellerbe re-signed with the Ravens this month. Ellerbe, who was an undrafted free-agent, tallied 41 tackles and one interception this past season for Baltimore.
Ellerbe started six games during the 2009-10 season, including the Ravens’ final three regular games and two playoff games.
Ellerbe had an interception and recovered a fumble to help Baltimore clinch the final AFC playoff spot in the Ravens’ 21-13 victory over Oakland in Week 17.
Ellerbe posted a career-high 10 tackles in Baltimore’s 20-3 loss to the eventual AFC Champion Colts in the divisional round.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh has indicated that Ellerbe is in the running for the starting inside middle linebacker position for the upcoming 2010 season.
Contact sports reporter Corey Davis at 997-3111, ext. 44; e-mail email@example.com