Former defensive lineman Haloti Ngata will become the newest member of the Ravens Ring of Honor when he is formally inducted at halftime of the “Monday Night Football” game against the Indianapolis Colts Oct. 11.
Ngata becomes the 10th former Ravens player inducted and the first since Ed Reed in 2015. Ngata was originally scheduled to be inducted last year, but the ceremony was postponed since attendance at games last year was prohibited or severely curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Ravens head coach Brian Billick was the most recent Ring of Honor entrant, inducted in 2019. Late team owner Art Modell was honored in 2003. The Ring of Honor also includes a group of eight former Baltimore Colts, all of whom are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and were inducted en masse in 2002: quarterback Johnny Unitas, wide receiver Raymond Berry, running back Lenny Moore, defensive tackle Art Donovan, defensive end Gino Marchetti, tight end John Mackey, offensive tackle Jim Parker and linebacker Ted Hendricks.
Ngata played nine of his 13 NFL seasons with the Ravens and starred on the 2012 team that won Super Bowl XLVII. He was traded to the Detroit Lions just before free agency began in 2015, then spent three years with the Lions and one with the Philadelphia Eagles before returning to the Ravens for one day in 2019 so he could retire as a Raven.
The Ravens traded up to draft Ngata with their first pick in the 2006 draft (No. 11 overall), and current general manager Eric DeCosta, then the team’s director of college scouting, called the former Oregon star “a big block of granite.”
The pick figured to immediately placate the concerns of franchise linebacker Ray Lewis, who had publicly criticized the organization for getting away from their defensive approach. Lewis said the team badly needed more bulk and strength in the defensive interior, which could occupy offensive linemen and free up Lewis to wreak havoc, as he had done on a Super Bowl run in 2000.
Ngata (6-foot-4, 340 pounds) became a starter from Day One his rookie year and missed just nine games in nine seasons with the Ravens. He made the Pro Bowl every year from 2009 to 2013 and was named First-Team All-Pro in 2010 and 2011.
“I was with him and against him. I really liked being with him a lot more,” said Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who was on the Ravens’ staff in Ngata’s first two seasons and then had to scheme against Ngata in the Super Bowl as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. “You talk about eating two guys up and growing roots on the D-line. [He was] really hard to move. … He could take two all day and not even blink.”
Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, who was on the Ravens’ staff for Ngata’s last two seasons in Baltimore, called Ngata, “one of the most athletic big men I’ve ever been around.”
Often drawing double-teams in the trenches, Ngata totaled 528 tackles, sixth-most in team history, 25.5 sacks and five interceptions as a Raven. In his nine seasons in Baltimore, the Ravens made the playoffs seven times.
At Ngata’s retirement ceremony in 2019, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti announced that Ngata would be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.
“That’s just amazing,” Ngata said at the time. “You see those names up in the stadium, and it’s like, ‘Man, that will be really cool to be able to be one of those players, to see your name up there as a Ring of Honor Raven. I’m just thankful and honored.”
THE RAVENS RING OF HONOR (by year inducted)
2000 — RB Earnest Byner
2002 — Eight Baltimore Colts Hall of Famers: QB Johnny Unitas, WR Raymond Berry, RB Lenny Moore, DT Art Donovan, DE Gino Marchetti, TE John Mackey, T Jim Parker, LB Ted Hendricks
2003 — Owner Art Modell
2004 — DE Michael McCrary
2006 — LB Peter Boulware
2008 — T Jonathan Ogden
2011 — K Matt Stover
2012 — RB Jamal Lewis
2013 — LB Ray Lewis
2014 — TE Todd Heap
2015 — S Ed Reed
2019 — Head coach Brian Billick
2021 — DL Haloti Ngata
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