Over 14 games and just 2.5 sacks (which, by Ngata's standards actually wasn't low, his ability lies more in creating pressure from different spots across the defensive line), Ngata never got the chance to make himself comfortable in Detroit. Common knowledge suggested he would be a Raven forever, and it takes time for a franchise cornerstone to realize that he's no longer with that franchise.
"This is totally different," Ngata told the Detroit Free Press this week about his new lease on life. "I'm here, family's here so I don't really have to worry about trying to find a house or where we're going to stay, traveling back and forth. I've been here all off-season and it's just been great."
He added that the opportunity to be counted on as a leader will help.
"I'm really the oldest guy now with (Darryl) Tapp and JJ (Jason Jones) being gone," Ngata said. "Now we got Wallace Gilberry, but he's new here so it just makes it a bigger role for myself. But having guys like Ziggy (Ansah) and Devin (Taylor), who's been here, it's great to have those guys."
There is something to be said about comfort, even if people choose to believe that Ngata, 32, has left his best years behind.
The Lions were actually a middle-of-the-road defense last year despite a dismal record, and have one of the most sought-after coordinators in football in Teryl Austin. If they can get anything more out of Ngata and continue to see growth from Ezekiel Ansah, we may be looking at a team making defense its hallmark after decades of offensive dominance.