Ravens defensive tackle * ***Haloti Ngata* **caught up with BR.com and shared his reasons for doing charity work and what he likes about it, his Tongan culture, The Office and other off-the-field tidbits, as well as what he's learned from Ray Lewis.*
BR.com: What is the most satisfying part of what you do on the field?
"Just knowing the work that I do, being double-teamed and all that, helps our guys make plays, just because I wasn't always around it. We had good linebackers in college and high school and all that, but with Ray [Lewis] and Bart [Scott], it's totally different. It's always great to see guys like that make plays when you're working so hard. That's the thing I like. Also, when I make tackles, it's great to see the hard work pay off, too. All that stuff happens just because of the hard work that we go through. It's cool seeing that it's not going to waste."
What has Ray Lewis taught you about the game of football?
"A lot. Intensity, playing with speed and excitement. You never know how long you're going to play, and if you want to play long like Ray has, you've got to take care of your body. He's taught me a bunch of things about how to play the game and to treat your body as a business. He's taught me a lot of things, and I can't name them all because there's so much. He's definitely been a great leader to me. We work well together and communicate a lot during the game to get things done."
What's the reason for your extensive charity work with diabetes?
"My mom had diabetes and actually passed away from it. Ever since then, I've always wanted to do something with diabetes. Plus, I have a lot of aunts and uncles that have diabetes. So I'm just trying to make people aware, especially my people, the Tongans, because the way we eat is kind of bad. I'm just trying to make them aware of eating healthy because it's about your health. You could live or die based on what you eat."
What's the origin of your name?
"[Laughing] I don't think I should tell you. My real first name, Etuini, means 'Edwin,' and my middle name, Haloti, means 'Harold.' So it's Edwin Harold in Tongan. Ngata means 'The end of...' It could be 'The end of time' or 'The end of' anything, really."
As an Oregon Duck, how would you describe those uniforms to someone who has never seen them?
"Just like looking at a duck. Multi-dimensional. Fluorescent yellow. Think of highlighter yellow on a duck."
What is your favorite place to visit?
"Probably my homeland, Tonga. I've been there three times. It's great just to go back and visit your family and see how my parents grew up, just getting to know your background."
What TV show do you try not to miss?
"Right now, I like watching The Office. That's pretty much the only one I've been watching."
Who is your favorite character on the show?
"Dwight. He's just so goofy. He's like that nerd that we all know who likes Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons."
What is the last book you read?
"Marley & Me by John Grogan. It's about the world's worst dog. My wife got me into it because we have dogs. I tend to read books that are about things I can relate to."
What is your proudest off-the-field achievement?
"Probably doing the charity stuff I do now. It's so easy for someone like me or guys in this locker room to make somebody happy just by doing the little things, like saying 'hi.' You can change somebody's life just by what you say and by what we do in our community."
Which of your teammates would make the best president?
"We have a lot of good candidates in here, a lot of smart guys. Probably Nick Greisen. He's a smart guy, knows a lot. Him or Bart Scott. Bart can argue, so make it Bart."
Do you remember your first trip to New York City?
"I've been there a couple times. In high school, my rugby team had a tournament out there in New York, so that was my first time there."
What was the best concert you've ever attended?
"Probably a UB40 concert in California, a reggae band. It was a while ago, when I was in high school. I really like their music. I love reggae."
Visit Haloti Ngata's Pro Bowl Bound? page* andVote to send him to Hawaii*.