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Odds are against a Ravens reunion with Haloti Ngata

The NFL Network reported last week that Haloti Ngata wants to play in 2016 and beyond, but that doesn't mean the five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle will finish up his career in Baltimore.

With Ngata less than three weeks away from becoming a free agent, a reunion with the Ravens doesn't seem plausible, unless he can reinvent himself into an edge pass-rusher or playmaking wide receiver.

The Ravens simply don't have a great need for Ngata, and he appears happy in Detroit after one season with the Lions. "I would love to stay," Ngata told Detroit reporters last month.

About 10 months ago, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti made headlines when he suggested the potential return of Ngata after the defensive tackle was traded to Detroit. Now, bringing back Ngata would be based mostly on sentiment.

The Ravens aren't expected to have a great amount of salary-cap room heading into free agency, and defensive line is one of the deepest positions on the team. Baltimore has a solid young foundation in Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan and Carl Davis.

What has to concern teams more is the fact that Ngata had his worst season in a contract year. He managed a career-low 24 tackles and struggled to stay healthy with hamstring and calf injuries, a bad trend for a 32-year-old lineman.

It's proven out that the Ravens were the winners in the Ngata trade. It created $8.5 million in cap room, and the Ravens received a fourth-round pick (which was used to draft pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith) and a fifth-round one (which helped Baltimore move up in the second round to take tight end Maxx Williams).

Just as they did for Ed Reed last year, the Ravens would welcome back Ngata with open arms when he wants to retire as a Raven or when he gets placed in the team's Ring of Honor. He will be remembered as one of the five best defensive players in Ravens history. But the days of Ngata wreaking havoc in a Ravens uniform are likely in the past.