After 13 years in the NFL, former Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata re-signed with the team who first drafted him on Wednesday, giving him the opportunity to retire with the dubious distinction of being a Raven.
Often seeming to have one of his better games when he faced the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ngata was a thorn in their side for the much of his nine years in Baltimore and his trade to Detroit Lions in 2015 was likely to have been seen as something of blessing by the Steelers offensive line.
When speaking to the media during his retirement press conference, it perhaps should come as no surprise to learn that the highlights of his career came against Pittsburgh, a tackle that would sum up the very essence of what it means to be a Raven.
Asked about his favorite play, Ngata would single out an illegal hit on Ben Roethlisberger that resulted in a broken nose and a $15,000 fine.
“Breaking Ben’s nose ... I didn’t do it on purpose but it kind of just happened.”
The hit would come during a 2010 meeting in Baltimore, a contest ultimately won by the Steelers by a score of 13-10. Inexplicably, a penalty was not called on the play at the time and Ngata would be credited half a sack for blatantly punching Roethlisberger in the face. Those who remember the game will probably also remember screaming at the officials about an obvious missed call.
While Roethlisberger would ultimately require surgery, he would not missing any playing time beyond sitting out a handful of plays in that Week 13 game. The two teams would meet for a third time in the playoffs later that year, a game the Steelers would win on route to an eighth Super Bowl appearance.