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Lions confident they’ll see Haloti Ngata well before opener

Haloti Ngata


The Lions have admitted they want to extend veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata’s contract, even though he hasn’t taken a snap for them.

But they’re confident he’s going to start taking those snaps soon.

Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he expects to see Ngata well before the regular season opener, though he won’t play in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Jets.

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

Ngata has been on the non-football injury list after coming to camp with a hamstring strain. And while some other rehabbing Lions are working on the side with trainers in practice, Ngata hasn’t joined their outdoors work yet.

“Very good progress,” Caldwell said. “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. He’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.”

The Lions have a lot riding on the veteran defensive tackle, acquired in trade with the Ravens in March. They blew up their defensive line, letting Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley leave in free agency, so they need his stability in the middle.