Jim Caldwell: Haloti Ngata Will Return Prior to Week 1


According to Detroit Lions head coach, Jim Caldwell, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will be back on the field prior to the regular season opener.

When Lions general manager Martin Mayhew pulled off the trade to land Haloti Ngata, fans everywhere felt a bit of relief from the uneasiness left following Ndamukong Suh’s departure in free agency. Then, when Detroit announced that Ngata would be placed on the non-football injury list at the first day of training camp, the inevitable uneasiness began to creep back in.

Especially when Caldwell stated that he didn’t know exactly how long the 31-year-old would be out of action. Luckily Caldwell put the doubt to rest once again this afternoon, announcing that he believes Ngata will be back on the field prior to week one of the regular season.

"“I think he’ll be back soon. And that means sooner than the opener.”"

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As Detroit Lions training camp continues to roll along in Allen Park, Ngata has not been spotted doing any sort of rehabilitation work — at least to this point. Caldwell however says that Ngata and the Lions training staff have been working together privately to get the former Baltimore Raven on the field in the Lions Honolulu blue and silver.

"“He’s coming along. He’s on schedule as the doctors have him, in terms of his pace of what he’s supposed to be doing, etc. They have him doing a few more things inside. It’s not necessarily because he’s not doing it out here doesn’t mean he’s not doing anything. He’s moving and running and he’ll be back soon.”"

Ngata’s place on the defensive line is one of mass importance, not only form a physical stand point, but also from a leadership perspective. He’ll presumably be sharing the defensive tackle position with Tyrunn Walker, Caraun Reid and Gabe Wright — all very young, but very talented guys.

With Ngata as the leader of this young group, there is tremendous potential. Without him, the learning curve could be much longer.

Nate Williams is an editor and columnist for SideLionReport.com of the FanSided Network. For continued Detroit Lions news, rumors and analysis, be sure to give him a follow on twitter at @SLR_Nate.

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