What Reggie White Meant to Haloti Ngata

Haloti Ngata has worn jersey No. 92 his entire 12-year NFL career - nine years with the Ravens, three years with the Lions.

That's 184 games wearing the same number.

That obviously has to change.

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The Eagles retired Reggie White's famed No. 92 jersey in 2005, a year after he died.

White, who spent the 1985 through 1992 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Eagles, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, his first year of eligibility.

So 92 goes, and that's fine with Ngata.

"I'll never take 92 here, but he is one of my idols," Ngata said Thursday, after signing a one-year deal with the Eagles.

"Reggie White is the reason why I chose 92, and it is so cool to be here and see 92 everywhere."

As he spoke, Ngata pointed over to the giant Reggie White mural adorning the wall of the auditorium at the NovaCare Complex.

Ngata is 34 and was in high school when White played his final season, in 2000 with the Panthers. Ngata said he never met White but followed his career since he was a kid.

"I love the way he played but mainly the man he was off the field," Ngata said. "Very humbling, God-fearing man. Just loved him.

"He's a great example, and that's what I wanted to be. Be a great football player but also a great person off the field."

Ngata is a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro defensive tackle. White made 13 straight Pro Bowls from 1986 through 1998 and was an eight-time All-Pro.

The Eagles retired White's 92 and Jerome Brown's 99, so the only numbers available in the 90s are 90 and 91 and 93 through 98.

When Ngata arrived in Philadelphia, he learned 91 (Fletcher Cox), 93 (former teammate Tim Jernigan), 95 (Mychal Kendricks), 96 (Derek Barnett), 97 (Destiny Vaeao) and 98 (Elijah Qualls) were taken.

"So there were two numbers - 90 and 94 (available)," he said. "So I texted my kids real quick and they said 94. So I think I'm going to be 94."

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