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Dannell Ellerbe hopes to remain with Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe emerged as one of the team's better defensive players during a season capped by a victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.

The Ravens will look different on defense next season whether they like it or not, but Ellerbe, set to become a free agent after filling in capably for retiring linebacker Ray Lewis during much of the season, wants to stick around.

"I hope to be back," Ellerbe said on "NFL AM" on Thursday. "My heart is here in Baltimore, but I haven't really had conversation or dialogue with the Ravens yet. I have faith I will (be back)."

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport told "NFL Total Access" on Tuesday the Ravens would like to work out a deal with Ellerbe.

The Ravens should expect competition for his services after the 27-year-old graded out as the top inside linebacker on the team's roster, per ProFootballFocus.com. Ellerbe, however, doesn't view himself as an heir apparent to Lewis.

"It's not about filling shoes, it's about coming back and making plays," Elleberbe said. "Ray Lewis does such a great job, you can't try and step in and fill the shoes of a legend. All I can try to do is go out there, make plays and make my own legacy."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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