Ngata would love to be 'Raven for life'

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata wants to maintain his strength throughout the season. He wants double-digit sacks as well.

But Ngata's biggest revelation is how he envisions his career ending.

"I would love to be a Ravens for life," Ngata said after the first day of Ravens' minicamp on Tuesday.

The Ravens were unable to reach an extension with Ngata this offseason. Ngata, 30, enters this year as the third highest-paid defensive tackle in terms of salary ($8.5 million) and the second biggest cap number for any player at that position ($16 million).

If the five-time Pro Bowl lineman wants to finish up with the Ravens, he'll likely have to agree to an extension next offseason like Terrell Suggs did. The final year of Ngata's contract is 2015, and the Ravens could create $8.5 million in cap room by cutting him next offseason. The Ravens also invested a second-round pick this year in Timmy Jernigan, who may become Ngata's eventual replacement.

"If we can get something done, that'd be great," Ngata said. "We'll just let my agent and Ozzie [Newsome, general manager] take care of that business off the field."

Ngata skipped the three weeks of voluntary workouts and showed up for minicamp looking like he did at the end of last season.

He did seem to feel the effects of the sweltering heat, taking a knee when not on the field. But, of the three starters who were absent all offseason (Terrell Suggs and Chris Canty were the others), Ngata lined up for the most reps Tuesday.

"This year I just tried to lose more body fat and stay around the same weight because toward the end of last season I lost some strength," Ngata said. "But I'm just trying to lose body fat and lean up a little bit more."

One area where Ngata wants to improve is rushing the passer. He recorded 1.5 sacks last season after having at least five sacks in three straight seasons (2010-12).

"I want to get better and better and try to at least get to double-digit sacks," Ngata said. "That’s something that I’ve never done. Hopefully I can continue to get better and get to my goals.”

Ngata has set his sights high because he hasn't been limited this offseason. He dealt with a quadriceps injury in 2012 and he was still recovering from a knee injury sustained in the Super Bowl last year at this time. Ngata said he feels faster this offseason.

"He told me that this morning he's healthier than he has ever been in the offseason," coach John Harbaugh said. "So, he’s probably able to train better than he has in a few years. The expectations are very high for Haloti.”

The Ravens are moving Ngata on the line for a second straight year. Last season, he switched to nose tackle so Arthur Jones and Chris Canty could start alongside him.

With Jones signing with the Indianapolis Colts in free agency, Ngata is being moved back to defensive tackle, where he played for most of his first seven seasons in the NFL. Brandon Williams is running with the first team at nose tackle.

Ngata said he has no preference where he plays.

"I’m just happy that I can be versatile and go back and forth," Ngata said. "It doesn’t matter now. I’ve been in different positions throughout my whole career, and it’s just the same for me, I guess.”

It's a big year for Ngata. He's healthy and has high goals for himself. The problem is, he comes with a higher cap hit than Gerald McCoy and Geno Atkins.

If he wants to be a "Raven for life" like Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden, he'll probably have to prove his worth on the field this year.