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Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata gives up football for rugby

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

One of the better defensive lineman in the NFL during a stellar 13-year career, five time Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata announced his retirement from the game just a couple weeks back.

However, Ngata isn’t going to be idle for long. The Utah Warriors of Major League Rugby announced on Monday that they have signed Ngata.

“Haloti Ngata, the 5-time NFL Pro-Bowler and Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens, announced this morning that he has signed an Associate Player Contract with Major League Rugby and will start immediately with the Utah Warriors,” the team announced, via its official website.

Ngata, 35, played rugby at Salt Lake City’s Highland High School earlier in the century. He was a major star for the school before giving it up to entertain a career on the gridiron.

“I wanted to move my family back to Utah but do not want to stop competing and want to bring another rugby championship home to Utah,” Ngata said. “The Warriors have done an amazing job in bringing professional rugby to Utah and the Warriors fan base is loud and loyal.”

While rugby has not taken off here in the United States, there is a major international flavor to the game. A product of Southern California, Ngata is now doing his best to help the sport gain even more traction.