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Haloti Ngata Wants To Be Raven For Life


Haloti Ngata still has two years left on the reported $61 million contract he signed in 2011, but the discussion about his long-term future in Baltimore has been a popular topic recently.

There were reports that the Ravens reached out to the All-Pro defensive lineman to discuss a contract extension this offseason, but the talks have yet to lead to a new deal.

If Ngata has it his way, he'll never don a jersey that's not black and purple. 

"I would love to be a Raven for life," Ngata said after minicamp practice Tuesday. "If we can get something done, that would be great. We'll just let my agent and Ozzie [Newsome] take care of that business off the field."

Ngata, 30, has been one of the NFL's most dominant defensive players throughout his career. He has made five straight Pro Bowls, and is the anchor of the Ravens defense.

But he has also struggled with injuries the last two seasons, as he takes a beating in the trenches throughout the course of the season. Ngata has tinkered with his weight and offseason training regimen in recent years to put him in position to withstand the rigors of a 16-game schedule, and now he feels like he's in prime position for a strong 2014 campaign.

"I feel great this year," Ngata said. "This year I just tried to lose more body fat and stay around the same weight because toward the end of the season I lost some strength. I'm just trying to lose body fat and lean up a little bit more."

The Ravens also anticipate a big year from Ngata.

"With Haloti, the expectations are always very high," Harbaugh said. "He expects that. That's how he likes it. He's healthy. He told me that this morning that he's [healthier] than he's ever been in the offseason. So he's probably training better than he has in a few years."

Ngata had 52 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season. The sack total was Ngata's fewest since 2009, and improving as a pass rusher is a big focus for him this year.

"Last year was definitely a down year in sacks," Ngata said. "In the pass rush I definitely want to get better and better, and try to at least get to double digit sacks. That's something I have never done."

The other area where Ngata expects to make adjustments is in the way he operates as a leader in the locker room. Ngata is known for having a quiet personality, but he's one of the team's elder statesman and most successful players.

The Ravens no longer have some of the vocal leaders from their great defenses of the past, and Ngata wants to take on a larger role in that department. 

"I'm not much of a vocal guy, but I lead by example," Ngata said. "I probably have to get out of my comfort zone and speak up more, and just try to rally up these guys to play to the best of their abilities."

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