When Dannell Ellerbe found out that he was going to be traded from the Miami Dolphins to New Orleans, he couldn’t hide his excitement.
“I was happy,” the linebacker said. “Wherever I could play for people who want me and play for a guy like (defensive coordinator) Rob (Ryan). … I knew a couple guys on the team, how they played everything like that. Playing in the dome, the dome always sold out, so I was happy for that.”
Ellerbe said he didn’t necessarily feel unwanted in Miami, but noted the team traded him away, and feels some frustration about his time there. After emerging as a star linebacker during his four seasons in Baltimore to start his career, Ellerbe signed a five-year, $34.75 million deal to join the Dolphins.
He never lived up to the hype. Playing middle linebacker during his first season in Miami after playing on the weak side in Baltimore, Ellerbe struggled through his first season. He moved back to the weak side last season, but suffered a hip injury in September and landed on injured reserve.
Ellerbe never received a shot at redemption in Miami after being traded to the Saints this offseason along with a third-round pick in exchange for wide receiver Kenny Stills.
The 29-year-old is still managing his injury, which is an ongoing process, but he believes he will be fully healthy by Week 1. He also thinks that a move back to weak side linebacker, where he’s projected to play, will help him succeed with the Saints.
“I played Will six out of the seven years I’ve been in the league,” Ellerbe said. “I know the more I play Mike I’ll become comfortable at that.”
Most of all, though, Ellerbe is glad to be in New Orleans.
“It’s always good when you have someone that’s there for you and really wants you on their team,” he said.