Haloti Ngata spent much of the second half of the Super Bowl alone in the Ravens locker room.
After going down with an injury on a 49ers touchdown in the third quarter, Ngata retreated to a stool with his leg wrapped in ice, watching the game on television. He said he felt "so hopeless, so useless."
When San Francisco kept narrowing the Ravens' lead, Ngata couldn't watch anymore. He moved away and just listened to the crowd and the comments of equipment staff as they walked in and out.
He knew the Ravens won the Super Bowl when one said, "Yes!"
Just more than four months later, Ngata is coming back from the sprained knee that knocked him out of Super Bowl XLVII.
Ngata avoided offseason surgery, but he's still got rehabbing to do. He was at Ravens Organized Team Activities (OTAs) throughout this week, doing individual drills and strengthening exercises.
"I'm not in awesome shape, but I barely started running again because of my knee," Ngata said. "My knee is probably 80 percent right now. Right now I'm not where I want to be, but I'll definitely get there when camp comes along."
Ngata came into training camp 10 pounds heavier last season, committed to playing at a higher weight. He said he felt weak the previous year because of his lighter frame.
Ngata didn't have any specific weight goals for this season. His primary objective is to avoid the doctor.
"I want to try to focus on having an injury-free year," Ngata said. "I know that's tough for any player. The way I train will definitely help."
Ngata missed two games last year due to nagging knee and shoulder injuries. He played through pain the previous season as well. He still recorded 51 tackles and five sacks, earning a fourth-straight Pro Bowl. But he wasn't as dominant as in past years.
"I want to get better at everything," he said. "I want to be a better run stopper. Our defense was pretty low, I think, for our standards of run stopping. I want to be a better pass rusher."
Ngata thinks he will be able to stay healthier and be more productive because of the depth the Ravens have on the defensive line this year. They signed free agents Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, and drafted defensive tackle Brandon Williams in the third year.
"We have so many guys, and I'm just excited about it," Ngata said. "I can go out and play and not worry about who's out there. I can go out there fully rested."