The Baltimore Ravens fortified their defense with a trade for Yannick Ngakoue, but even though he was born in Washington D.C. and attended the University of Maryland, he cheered for a rival team growing up.
During an interview last week, Ngakoue confirmed that while he watched plenty of Ravens games when he was younger, he was indeed a Pittsburgh Steelers fan first, and relishes the chance to play in the hard-hitting rivalry game coming up this weekend.
“It feels great coming back home. One of the perks for me is being able to be right by my mom. The Ravens is a team I used to watch a lot growing up. I was a Steelers fan growing up which is quite ironic but those guys had crazy battles as I remember being a kid watching them on TV. Really low scoring games like 10-3 games like that, just a defensive battle.”
Even though the Ravens might not have been Ngakoue’s first choice as a kid, he’s clearly more than excited to be joining the team now, which is excellent to see. It will be fascinating to know that he’s on the Baltimore side after cheering for the Steelers earlier in his life.
Perhaps it adds a little more salt in the wound for Steelers fans.
Yannick Ngakoue Loves Fit With Ravens
Though Ngakoue was dealt earlier this season to the Minnesota Vikings, he had already long desired coming to the AFC North wth the Ravens, and the team wanted to try to make something work out on a deal front as reports claimed afterward. Ngakoue is from Maryland, and the fact he lands with his home state team has to be a huge level of comfort to the player.
Indeed, after the deal was announced last week, Ngakoue hopped on Twitter and shared his excitement, saying he was a part of the Ravens flock while also showing off a checkered flag, signifying he had finished his journey.
Going closer to home can be a big deal for players, and Ngakoue now lands with a defense which will allow him to be successful considering they are 5-1 and firmly in the hunt. If there was one thing the Ravens defense could use, it was a pass rush. The fact Ngakoue is coming to a place he’s comfortable is a big deal, as it might help him be more successful in the end.
As he said himself, Baltimore was the best fit in the end.
His first game in his new colors comes this weekend.
Yannick Ngakoue Stats
There is little doubt that Ngakoue can bring it defensively in his career and might only be trending upward as a player. Just 25 years old out of Maryland, Ngakoue is already one of the next best pass rushers in the league. Coming into this season, he’s put up 122 tackles and 37.5 sacks plus 2 interceptions during his time in the league. A 2017 Pro Bowl player, Ngakoue has also forced an impressive 14 fumbles in his career, showcasing his big play player abilities.
It seems likely that Ngakoue will be able to help the Ravens, even in spite of some lower stat totals this year. He’s had 10 tackles and 4 sacks which are solid totals, but not huge. The Ravens will love that production along their line and for their defense in terms of getting after the quarterback.
The time has nearly come to see what Ngakoue can bring to the mix, and the hope is the Steelers feel the pain first. It would be ironic given his rooting interests as a child.