Haloti Ngata helped define what it means to “play like a Raven” and will thus finish as one.
The mountainous defensive tackle will return to Baltimore Wednesday to officially retire as a Raven, bringing the career of one of the team’s all-time great defenders full circle.
Owner Steve Bisciotti and Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome will be on hand for the 3 p.m. press conference at the Under Armour Performance Center and will also make two more special announcements.
Ngata went to five Pro Bowls during his nine-year career in Baltimore, anchoring the first line of some of Baltimore’s greatest defenses. He then played for three seasons with the Detroit Lions (2015-2017) and spent last season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
A first-round pick (No. 12 overall) in 2006, Ngata was an immediate starter and impact player. A freakish athlete standing in at 6-foot-4, 340 pounds, Ngata made the most of his unique talent.
Of his 515 career tackles and 32.5 career sacks, 445 tackles, 25.5 sacks and one breaking of Ben Roethlisberger’s nose came in purple and black. During his nearly decade of service in Baltimore, he only missed nine games.
While Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, as well as the more brash Terrell Suggs, got much of the glory in the Ravens defense, Ngata quietly did a lot of the dirty work while still making splash plays of his own. From 2006-2018, Ngata is the NFL's only defensive tackle to record at least 30 sacks and five interceptions.
In addition to being a major reason for top defenses such as the 2006 and 2011 units, Ngata helped catapult Baltimore to Super Bowl XLVII victory with a big 2012 season in which he notched 51 tackles and five sacks.
Perhaps just as valuable was his steady leadership, both somewhat quietly behind the scenes and with the way he always played with hustle and determination on the field. His personality was infectious.
When the Ravens traded Ngata to the Lions during the 2015 offseason, now General Manager Eric DeCosta said it was a “sickening feeling.” The Ravens continued to cheer on Ngata from afar as they made tough roster decisions of their own.
After four seasons elsewhere, which included dealing with various injuries (including a torn biceps), Ngata announced his retirement in March in epic fashion while standing atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
Now he’ll get to say goodbye in Baltimore, the place where he got his start and built a career that warrants Hall of Fame consideration.