Last month the
Liberia-born first-rounder was reunited with his mother, Rachel Keita, after 13
years, when she came to the U.S. The adjustment hasn't been easy. "I live
with my mother and my brother, and I have a girlfriend," says the Penn
State grad. "I'm under my mom's rules again. Some things she approves of,
some she doesn't." Practices are Hali's sanctuary. "On the football
field, I'm at peace," he says. "I'm running around, and I don't have
anything else to think about."
RAVENS DEFENSIVE TACKLE
He had no
interceptions at Oregon, but 27 minutes into his first NFL game the 6'4"
340-pounder was holding a deflected Chris Simms pass and looking at 69 yards to
the end zone. "It felt like I was running to Hawaii," recalls Ngata.
"It was so far. It felt good for 30 yards, and then I just died out; it
felt like something big jumped on my back." Ngata ran out-of-bounds after
chugging 60 yards. "Some people said I didn't have a motor," he says.
"I feel I've answered those questions."
The downside of
signing a six-year, $27.3 million contract? "People you haven't talked to
in a long time come, and they don't ask for $100 or $200. They ask for $20,000
or $30,000," says Cleveland's sack leader. "It's like, How much did you
contribute to me getting here? Now you want to ask me for a huge amount of
money and think it's not big to me? It's happened more than once. More than