Memo to Haloti: Getting the money is the easy part
For a big, tough dude, Haloti Ngata is surprisingly gentle and soft-spoken off the field. He's also funny as hell in a wry, deadpan kind of way -- even a day after the Ravens made him richer than his wildest dreams, with a five-year, $61 million contract.
Asked about his teammates' reaction to his whopping new contract, and whether any of them had hit him up for a loan, Ngata paused for a second, the timing of a natural-born comedian.
They he delivered the punch-line.
"Nobody asked me for a loan," he said, "they just asked me to give them money. There's no loan in it."
The line brought down the house -- you don't often hear a lot of laughter when the Ravens meet the news media Wednesdays at the Castle. And Ngata made it clear he was joking.
But the fact is, getting a huge, well-publicized contract exposes NFL players to all sorts of unwanted requests for money from friends, family, teammates and even total strangers.
It's like what happens when people win these mega-millions lottery jackpots: Suddenly, everyone they know has their hand out.
But unlike with big lottery winners, who can simply take the money and disappear to a new life on some distant island, an All-Pro defensive tackle like Ngata can't exactly go underground to escape the opportunistic weasels trying to glom onto him.
He's sort of expected to show up for work every Sunday for the next five years to justify that huge payday.
Ngata seems like a solid, level-headed guy. You don't picture him ending up like former Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister, who signed a seven-year, $55 million contract with the team in 2004 and now says he's so broke he's living with his parents and can't pay child support to his ex-wife.
But a fabulously-wealthy NFL superstar will always attract con artists and others with bad intentions. I hope Ngata's not a soft touch, because he's going to hear all sorts of sob stories from people trying to get him to part with his money.
They won't be asking for loans, either.
Baltimore Sun photo by Kevin Richardson