Some like to use the phrase, "What have you done for me lately?"
It's probably more relevant to ask, "What can you do for me now?"
Such is the unforgiving reality of professional sports, and it's the situation that Elvis Dumervil is walking into as the newest member of the San Francisco 49ers. His two All-Pro seasons, five Pro Bowl appearances and 99 career sacks look great on a résumé, but those accolades won't help the 49ers win games in 2017.
As harsh as that sounds, Dumervil enters the next stage of his career with his eyes wide open.
View the top images from Tuesday as the 49ers took the field for the first day of mandatory minicamp.
"You have to prove yourself year in and year out in the NFL," Dumervil said. "Nobody cares about what you've done in the past. What you bring to the table is about what you can do now. I'm excited for the opportunity."
Last season was marred by a nagging Achilles injury, but Dumervil assured the 49ers that he's back to full health and has plenty of good football left in him.
That's what San Francisco is banking on. The 11-year veteran was brought to the 49ers for far more than a mentorship role for the young players on the roster. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan expect Dumervil to provide a significant boost to the team's pass-rush.
"We would never bring in a guy just to be a mentor, but in Elvis's case it's a huge bonus," Shanahan said. "I still believe Elvis can play. I think he put it on tape at the end of last year when he started to get more over his injury.
"Elvis looks like he's in the best shape that he can be. We believe he's healthier. We believe we're getting a pretty good player. We're excited to get him out here and compete with the guys."
Dumervil has the potential to be a home-run addition. Pass-rushers of his caliber are scarce in a league that demands the ability to pressure the quarterback.
"He's very hard to block," Shanahan said. "He knows how to get to the quarterback. He's got extremely long arms. … I think that's why he's had the numbers with the sacks, and I'm hoping he can bring that here."
A number of teams came calling to enlist Dumervil's services this offseason. He explained that he visited a few clubs but was in no rush to sign until things felt right. That feeling came when Dumervil came to 49ers headquarters a few weeks back. Lynch, Dumervil's former teammate with the Denver Broncos, was one factor. Mike Shanhan, Dumervil's first NFL head coach who happened to be at the team facility during his visit, was another.
So, too, was San Francisco's young nucleus of defensive talent. The 49ers have invested heavy draft capital into the likes of Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward, Arik Armstead, Jaquiski Tartt, DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster.
Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until training camp to see Dumervil in action. Shanahan told reporters that he'll be held out of this week's minicamp. Dumervil expressed that he's already knee-deep in the playbook already and eager to get going in training camp.
"Anytime you can have a guy who thinks that way, who has also had the success, it rubs off on people," Shanahan said. "What Dwight Freeney did last year for Vic Beasley (with the Atlanta Falcons) I thought was huge, and I think when you bring in veterans like this who have had success, who know how to do it the right way, everyone learns from that."
Freeney is an apt comparison, and not just from a leadership standpoint.
Freeney, a sure-fire Hall of Famer who is 37-years-young, has posted 11 sacks over the past two seasons. So you can bet that Dumervil, now 33, expects to show the 49ers that there's still plenty in the tank.
Because what's left is all that matters.
"It's a young man's game, and I'm excited to play a young man's game," Dumervil said.