Haloti Ngata would love to stay in Detroit

Posted Jan 23, 2016

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata would like to play in Detroit for another season.

The Detroit Lions and Haloti Ngata have yet to talk about a new contract that could keep the veteran defensive tackle in Detroit for the 2016 season.

Those conversations are expected to begin after Lions GM Bob Quinn returns from Senior Bowl practices next week.

“We haven’t been talking just because of (Bob) Quinn and he’s just trying to get everything situated there,” Ngata said Friday during a break in unloading 94,000 bottles of water purchased by the Lions’ defensive line for the City of Flint.

“My agent and him want to talk, but most likely after the Senior Bowl.”

Ngata said that “whatever happens is going to happen” but if he had his wish, he’d be playing in Detroit in 2016.

“I’d love to stay,” he said. “I love what coach (Jim) Caldwell has done here. I love playing under him and coach Kris (Kocurek). I feel like I got in a groove at the end of the season and hopefully I can play a full season understanding the system.”

Ngata came on strong the second half of the season after getting over some nagging injuries that limited him through the team’s first eight games.

More than half of Ngata’s 24 tackles and 2.5 sacks were recorded during the second half of the season, but a lot of what Ngata contributes on Sunday isn’t recorded on the stat sheet. He’s a space eater and usually occupies two blockers, which frees other players to make plays.

Ngata says he loves his defensive linemates and that’s the real reason he wants to come back.

“If I really didn’t like the guys, I wouldn’t be back,” he said. “I can like the coaches, but these are the guys that you’re kind of going to war with, per say. If you don’t really like them, or trust them, it’s really hard to play with the group.”

Ngata admitted last season was tough for him trying to battle through injuries early on. His play suffered because of it.

He views his future as “year-to-year” now that he’s “a little older” at age 32, and he’s going to listen to his body at the end of each season moving forward, but 2016 is in his plans at this point.

He’s probably not going to make the $8.5 million he did this past season after the Lions traded for him on the first day of free agency, but he still has value, especially on a team shorthanded at the defensive tackle position this offseason.

“I definitely want to play and Caldwell does a great job of keeping us fresh, so this is the best I’ve felt after a season in a while,” he said.