Haloti Ngata feels great now, but he knows the real test lies ahead.
A left knee injury suffered in the Super Bowl seems completely healed. Ngata reported to camp in excellent shape, and has been running on the knee pain-free for weeks.
“I was able to start running a little bit and the weight kind of went down at the same time,” Ngata said Friday after practice. “It was great to be able to run for the last month and a half.
“Way ahead of last year. This year, (I) came in better shape. I’m feeling great.”
However, what happens when the Ravens start banging bodies against other teams, and the wear-and-tear of the season begins? That is the great unknown for Ngata, whether his knee and his entire body can hold up through a 16-game season of pounding and practices.
“Right now me knee is doing good,” Ngata said. “I don’t have problems after practice, but we will have to see once we start putting the pads on and actually hitting. We’ll see where it is, and we’ll just go from there.”
Coach John Harbaugh liked what he had seen from Ngata early in camp.
“It’s obvious that Haloti really went to work in the five weeks between when we left and the start (of camp),” Harbaugh said.
The Ravens have a deeper defensive line this season with the additions of Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and rookie Brandon Williams. Ngata anticipates playing exclusively inside, where he performs at his best.
At age 29, Ngata believes he is still one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles. After two days of training camp, Ngata had no reason not to feel optimistic.