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Haloti Ngata should feel like he owes Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata received a hug from linebacker Terrell Suggs on Tuesday and was repeatedly called "fresh legs" by teammates throughout his first practice since serving a four-game suspension.

The Ravens players received an emotional boost from the return of their best defensive lineman, even though Ngata didn't display much emotion in his first public comments since being disciplined by the NFL.

Ngata didn't exude much remorse while talking to reporters, failing to apologize to his teammates, coaches or fans. He acknowledged that he made a mistake and wanted to move forward by answering questions about the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I just feel like I owe these guys," Ngata said. "So, I'm going to do whatever I can to help the team."

Ngata should feel like he owes the team. He put them in a difficult position by getting suspended for the final month of the season. He's a leader who wasn't there for his team. He was another unwanted distraction in a season where the Ravens had overcome enough adversity.

The Ravens, though, used him for inspiration. Ngata is a beloved teammate, and many players talked about how they wanted to get to the playoffs so "the big guy" could play again this season. Linebacker Terrell Suggs even performed a Polynesian war dance after a sack in honor of Ngata.

"He was missed a lot in the locker room, especially by me," Suggs said. "As soon as we won [Sunday], we saw the score and we were like, 'We get Haloti back.' The locker room is back to being complete."

Ngata spent the four weeks of his suspension at his home in Utah, and he watched the Ravens go 3-1 without him.

"It felt like I was in retirement watching the games, watching football during the season at home," Ngata said. "It felt weird, but I was glad we were able to get the wins and get into the playoffs."

When he was suspended by the NFL earlier this month, Ngata indicated in a statement that he took Adderall. On Tuesday, he declined to say whether he will attempt to get a prescription for the drug or stop using it.

"We'll just see what happens," Ngata said. "Right now, I'm just focused on the Steelers."