NFL Suspends Haloti Ngata 4 Games For PEDs
The Baltimore Ravens’ plight to win the AFC North and make the playoffs just got a little tougher. According to reports, the team will be without stud defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for the stretch run after the league handed down a four-game suspension on Thursday.
Ngata reportedly violated the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and will serve a four-game suspension. Ngata could appeal the ban, but doing so could delay the suspension and extend his missed time into the playoffs, should Baltimore make it to post-season play.
That catch-22 will be something to monitor in the coming days, and could be a good reason why it may be best for Ngata to just serve his suspension and hope the Ravens cane make the playoffs without him.
That’s exactly what they’ll be tasked with doing, as their key cog of their stout defensive line will be gone, potentially leaving a huge hole in both their run defense and pass rush. For a unit that was ranked fourth in the league against the run, losing Ngata for the final four weeks could easily be a blow they may not survive.
Baltimore enters week 14 at 7-5 and badly needing wins to keep pace with everyone else in the AFC North. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns are both serious threats at 7-5, as well, while the Ravens are a full game behind the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1), who also own the season series (2-0) over Baltimore.
Cincy’s commanding lead with the tiebreaker could force the Ravens into a situation that Pittsburgh and Cleveland aren’t in. That could mean they’ll have to win out just to sneak into the playoffs, let alone hold any shot at winning the division. Doing that without arguably their best defensive player on the roster may be a tall order.
For what it’s worth, Ngata seems reserved to serving the suspension and owned up to his part in breaching the PED rules.
“I made a mistake, and I own this,” Ngata said in a statement.
Rookie defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan and veteran Brandon Williams will rotate together to help make up for the loss of Ngata. Should Baltimore pull through and make the playoffs, Ngata would be 100% cleared to play for Baltimore’s first playoff game.
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