For Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata, the NFL lockout hasn't been a ticket to gluttony, as some might have feared. Instead, the big man has used the unusual offseason to rework his diet and intensify his workouts.
The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that Ngata has shed 25 pounds from his imposing frame, down to a lithe 325.
"While spending more time away from football, I was able to work out more," Ngata told the newspaper from his home in Salt Lake City. "I've been running and working out six days a week. I'm more focused in my workouts, and I feel quicker and stronger. The weight loss and the quickness are definitely noticeable."
Ngata told The Sun a fear of flying pushed him to eat more during the season to offset stress from cross-country trips. But he has stuck to a sensible eating plan this offseason while working out at the University of Utah, where Ravens left guard Edwin Mulitalo, among others, have joined him.
"The diet has been steady," Ngata said. "In fact, the workouts have been good even though there hasn't been a lot of football stuff."
Ngata has notched two consecutive Pro Bowl berths, but he still sees room for improvement -- even if opponents hope for nothing of the sort.
"I was happy that I improved, but you can never be satisfied," Ngata said. "I still have to improve as a pass rusher. I've watched film and thought I missed some tackles. I have to work on putting myself in better position to make those tackles."
The Ravens have made the playoffs three years running, only to lose twice to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ngata acknowledged that beating Baltimore's bitter AFC North rival is something on which the team is focused.
"We're close to winning it all, but we've got to find a way to beat those guys to get over the hump," Ngata said. "We can't keep letting them come back on us. Hopefully, we'll win more games during the regular season and get a playoff game at home. That's what we really need."