When the Dolphins wrapped up another week of OTAs eight days ago, linebacker
“Loving this fatherhood thing,” Ellerbe tweeted while also including this hashtag: #proudfather.
Ellerbe became a father on May 19 when his wife, Shervella, gave birth to a son they named Nevan.
The proud father used football terms to explain his excitement.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” Ellerbe said. “I mean, it’s like excitement like winning the Super Bowl every year you play to the 10th power and then it’s like a shot with that. I don’t know, you can’t describe it, really. You really can’t describe it, what type of feeling it is. It’s a great feeling.”
When Father’s Day comes around this Sunday, it’s going to be a whole new experience for Ellerbe.
As he normally does, he’ll call his father in South Carolina. He’ll also call or text the friends and relatives he’s always called through the years, but he’ll also be on the receiving end on those calls and texts this time.
More importantly, Ellerbe will get another dose of life as a parent.
“Oh yeah, I finally get to celebrate Father’s Day,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it. I know my phone is going to blow up being that this is my first year being considered a father.”
Nevan Ellerbe actually was born about a week after his due date, a development that Dannell said he expected because he himself was a late baby.
Dannell and Shervella, who were married on April 14, became parents shortly after Dannell’s cousin had a child of her own.
After Nevan was born, Dannell took to Twitter with the following message and hashtag: “Officially a Proud Father!!!! #blessedbeyondmeasure.”
When it came time to pick a name, Dannell Ellerbe explained that his wife found Neven in a book of baby names and it also was the name of character on a TV show that Shervella watched, “Monk.”
The name, after the Ellerbes changed the second “e” to an “a,” is of Celtic origin and means “little saint” or “little holy one.”
The Dolphins wrapped up their last week of OTAs on Thursday, and all that stands between Ellerbe and being able to spend all day with his newborn son for a month is the three-day minicamp scheduled for June 17-19.
But even while he’s been working with his teammates these last few weeks, Ellerbe has found time to help out at home.
“We’ve got great balance,” Dannell said. “The nights I have to work, she wakes up and feeds him and changes him and stuff like that. Then on my off days, I’m the one to wake up and feed him and change him. So we’ve got great balance with that.”
Judging by this Twitter post from Shervella, it appears as though Dannell has the magic touch when it comes to helping Nevan get to sleep.
“My baby fights sleep everytime @ellerbe59 puts him down for naps/bed. #daddysboy”
Says Dannell: “He’ll try to fight sleep just so he can sit up and watch me. If he hears my voice, he’ll wake up and look around. He looks like he’s going to be a daddy’s boy. He actually gave me trouble (on a recent night), but I just get up and I hold him, and if he’s still fussy, I’ll walk around with him and he’ll get knocked out. Automatically, when I walk around with him.
“(Having your baby fall asleep in your arms is) another one of those feelings you can’t explain. It’s just a love that you’ve never experienced until you had your own kid. You never understand how much a parent loves you until you have your own. It’s just one of those things that you have to have a kid to understand it. I’m just in love all over again now.”
Ellerbe is a spiritual man who always seems to be content, who regularly posts on Twitter, “Blessed to see another day!!!”
Becoming a father, though, that has taken his life to a different place.
“It’s different now that I have a baby at the house,” he says. “I’m so happy to go home and see him being at work all day. He brightens my day. Just even being happy coming home, when I get home, he raises my spirits even more. It’s a great thing that he’s here. I’m just happy to be blessed.”
Ellerbe says being a father hasn’t changed his perspective on football very much, but it has changed his perspective on children.
It also has made him look at his annual summer clinic on North Carolina in a whole new light.
“Ever since my wife has been pregnant, I’ve been looking at kids different,” Ellerbe said. “When I hear about things on the news that happens with kids, it affects you different because you have your own. I never really realized that before I had a kid. I see how a lot of people react to stuff and I couldn’t understand, but now I fully understand. It’s just a whole different feeling of responsibility. I embrace it and I love it.
“It’s just a great feeling to be responsible for someone else’s life and to be able to mold somebody into being a greater person than you were in your life. I’m looking forward to it.”