Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson talked about new teammate Haloti Ngata while he was in Baltimore for Monday's Ed Block Courage Awards. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Haloti Ngata's career with the Ravens ended with a heartbreaking playoff loss, something the defensive tackle experienced too often in his Baltimore playing days, but a feeling his new Detroit Lions teammates learned this year.
The Lions lost in the NFC wild-card round to the Dallas Cowboys in January, and star wide receiver Calvin Johnson said a player with a Super Bowl ring like Ngata can be a positive influence on the entire locker room as they aim to improve in 2015.
"I think any time you bring those guys in, one with a lot of playoff experience, with rings — those guys won — guys in the locker room gravitate towards those guys," Johnson said Monday at an event connected to the Ed Block Courage Awards. "Those guys have been there, so there's a lot that they can teach the guys."
Johnson has played the past five seasons with Ndamukong Suh, one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the game, and said Suh and Ngata fit the same bill.
"He's a double-team guy," Johnson said. "You've got to put two guys on him, because he'll disrupt the whole offensive line. … I definitely consider it like blocking someone like a Suh."
While Johnson smiled at the addition, his division rival, guard Matt Slauson of the Chicago Bears, had the opposite reaction.
"Just when I think life was going to get a little easier in our division with Suh going to the AFC East, things got a whole lot worse: The Lions got Haloti," Slauson said. "As Baltimore fans know, Haloti's a beast. I've been playing against that guy my whole entire career, and he's just ridiculous. So life has not gotten any easier in the NFC North."
Slauson, an Oregon native, watched Ngata play in college at the University of Oregon, and made his first career NFL start against Ngata and the Ravens when he debuted for the Jets in 2010.
"Haloti, he can do it all," Slauson said. "He's a massive wall of a guy, he weighs 350 pounds but at the same time, he can move like he's 250 if he wants. He can do anything."