Dannell Ellerbe was the immediate beneficiary of the toe injury that shelved inside linebacker Ray Lewis hours before the Ravens’ AFC North clash with the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
But that doesn’t mean that Ellerbe had an easy time filling in for the 12-time Pro Bowler.
“It’s kind of hard to replace the best,” said Ellerbe, who made his first start since Sept. 26, 2010 against the Cleveland Browns. “All you can do is go out there and play your game and let it speak for itself.”
Ellerbe played decently in the 31-24 victory over the Bengals. Although he was credited with just three tackles, Ellerbe did contribute to a five-yard loss by running back Bernard Scott when Ellerbe penetrated his way into the backfield and forced Scott into the waiting arms of defensive end Cory Redding in the first quarter.
“Coming off the injury, I felt like I played good,” said Ellerbe, who had sat out the previous game and five of the last six contests because of a hamstring injury. “I made a couple plays out there. It just felt good to get my legs up under me and get out there on the field and be with my boys.”
Ellerbe left the game late in the second half, but he said he did not re-aggravate the hamstring.
Ellerbe won’t be confused for Lewis, but he said he will do the best he can as long as Lewis can’t play.
“There’s pressure trying to fill in for him, but I feel like I’m the one to do it,” Ellerbe said. “So whenever the time comes, I feel like I’m the guy to be out there, and I’m going to do my best to prove that I’m right.”