Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has not attended one voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA) this offseason, instead choosing to work out in his home state of Utah and spend time with his pregnant wife while taking college courses.
But now that his classes, which he attended at the University of Utah as he works towards the completion of a sociology degree, are finished, Ngata will rejoin his teammates this week.
The 6-foot-4, 345-pound lineman admitted as much in an exclusive interview with BaltimoreRavens.com.
"We just got done with classes, so I've been staying in shape and working out," Ngata said. "I'm ready to get back to Baltimore, so I've been packing up all weekend to head back east."
Ngata said that he expects to be back on the practice field Wednesday, with the Ravens in the midst of what the team deemed an "expanded role camp."
Head coach John Harbaugh said the team was aware of Ngata's planned absence and would welcome him with open arms.
"There will be situations when guys can't be here," Harbaugh explained. "They've got things coming up in their life. We kind of expect everybody here every day, but I think our guys want to be here. They want to be a part of what we're doing, because they like football."
The former first-round draft pick (2006) believes he will be ready to immediately step back into the lineup.
He got a taste for the Ravens' 2009 squad when he attended the mandatory minicamp on May 7-10.
And while he was back in Utah, Ngata said he worked out nearly every day with a trainer to keep himself in optimum shape.
"I have a trainer out here, so he keeps me busy with my workouts," Ngata said. "We change it up a lot. I get up early and get my lift in, and then there are some different things that I do in the afternoon, whether that is a swimming workout or doing some agility drills. It's been fun."
Ngata will join an impressive cast of seasoned veterans that have been regulars around the Ravens' practice facility of late. Linebacker Ray Lewis and running back Willis McGahee, both of whom typically prefer to train at the University of Miami (their alma mater), and defensive tackle Trevor Pryce, a Denver-devotee during the offseason, all were seen at the voluntary sessions.
Safety Ed Reed, another one of the Miami alums that normally remain in south Florida to work out, has been the only other player to be absent from the voluntary camps.
"I'll admit I'm kind of anxious to get back into the swing of things," Ngata stated. "It's always a good feeling to get back on the field after taking a little time away from the game. I feel great, well-rested and ready to go."
Ngata has also been patiently waiting for his wife, Christine, to give birth to the couple's first child. According to Ngata, the baby is due in mid July, "around the 11th."
That will give him time to acclimate himself with the rookies and free agents the Ravens added this year and receive some personal schooling on new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's playbook.
"It's always good to go back and be around the guys. And, I'll be getting to know the new guys too," said Ngata. "I met them at the mandatory camp, but this will be the most time I've spent around them since then. The time flies by quickly, but the work starts now to build on last year."