Dumervil was born in Miami, Florida. His parents were Haitian immigrants to Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood. Separated when Dumervil was 3, they raised a total of 10 children. He attended Miami Jackson High School, where he was a two-sport star in football and track. He played high school football for the Jackson Generals team. Rated among the top 25 defensive ends by most football recruiting publications, Dumervil had a Jackson High record 78 career sacks.
Dumervil attended the University of Louisville, where he played for coach Bobby Petrino's Louisville Cardinals football team from 2002 to 2005. His college career began slowly as a modest contributor during his first two seasons at Louisville; he tallied just 28 tackles and two sacks. The Cardinal coaching staff had planned on redshirting him during the 2002 season, but injuries to other players and a lackluster performance by the defensive line forced him into the rotation.
He emerged during the 2004 season as a junior, recording 10 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. His 2005 season was one of the best for a defensive end in both NCAA and school history, when he broke the NCAA single-game sack record (6) in a game against the rival Kentucky Wildcats, and broke the NCAA record for forced fumbles. His sack total also broke the Big East record set by Dwight Freeney, who was a player that Elvis desired to emulate. He won several awards for the 2005 season, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Ted Hendricks Award, and Big East player of the year, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American.
In the 2006 Gator Bowl, Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick intentionally stomped on the back of Dumervil's leg after a whistle. While no penalty was called, the backlash from this play (in combination with a misdemeanor charge for driving with a suspended license) led to Vick's permanent dismissal from the Virginia Tech football team. Vick claimed that he had apologized to Dumervil after the game, while Dumervil disputed that claim and stated that he didn't receive any kind of apology from Vick.
In college he was known for the "strip-sack" maneuver where he would sometimes strip the ball from ball carriers or quarterbacks.
Despite his collegiate success and comparisons to Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, Dumervil was selected on the second day of the NFL draft due to concerns about his small size (5'11", 258 pounds), and the fact that he went without a sack in his final three collegiate games. This may have been due to being consistently double-teamed, but it was perceived by some as a sign of fatigue. Several teams considered moving him to linebacker or only using him in pass rushing situations.
Early in his rookie season, Dumervil saw little playing time. However, his minutes increased as the season progressed and he finished the year with 8.5 sacks in 13 games. In the first game of the 2007 NFL season he would get the first interception of his career. Dumervil would go on to lead the Broncos, and finish among league leaders, with 12.5 sacks in 2007.
With the Josh McDaniels coaching regime entering the 2009 season, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan moved Dumervil around as an outside linebacker in his 3-4 defensive scheme, but keeping him as a defensive end on 4-3 passing down situations. Dumervil led the league in sacks with 17. At the conclusion of the season, Dumervil was a near unanimous selection for the All-Pro Team, receiving 46 out of the 50 total votes. He also finished third in voting for Defensive Player of the Year.
In July 2010, Dumervil signed a six-year $61.5 million contract extension (including $43.168 million in guaranteed payments) to keep him with the Broncos through 2015. However, on August 4, 2010, Dumervil suffered a tornpectoral muscle during practice, and missed the entire 2010 season.
Dumervil in 2014.
Dumervil's contract specified that if he were on the roster at 2:00 PM MT (4:00 PM ET) on March 15, 2013, his $12 million salary for the 2013 season would be fully guaranteed. The Broncos, looking to free up room under the salary cap, reached an agreement to restructure his contract to reduce his 2013 salary cap hit. However, Dumervil and his agent faxed the paperwork six minutes late at 2:06 PM MT, which caused the Broncos to release Dumervil rather than allow the $12 million to be guaranteed. As a result, while the Broncos could have re-signed Dumervil as soon as Saturday, March 16, they accrued $4.869 million in "dead money" against their 2013 cap, in addition to any salary cap hits from the new contract. The snafu led Dumervil to fire his agent.
On March 24, 2013, Dumervil agreed to a 5-year-deal with the Baltimore Ravens worth $35 million, including $8.5 million in the first year of the deal. Dumervil was given No. 58 – his college number at Louisville and the number of Peter Boulware, one of the greatest pass rushers in Ravens' history – with Baltimore because Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had worn 92 – the number Dumervil wore in Denver – for his entire career with the Ravens.
At the end of the 2014 NFL season, Dumervil set the single season franchise record for sacks of the Baltimore Ravens with 17 sacks total.