American football player Haloti Ngata decided he was going out in style, so he announced his retirement from the National Football League from atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on Monday.
Ngota, a defensive tackle who played 13 seasons in the NFL including a 2012 Super Bowl win with the Baltimore Ravens, climbed the mountain to fulfill a lifelong dream and make a statement about his career. What got less attention was the mission to support water access on the African continent through Waterboys, an organization that partners with professional athletes to advance the cause.
“I’ve crossed off a bucket list item. I’m so blessed and thankful for the opportunity to accomplish something so tough physically, mentally and spiritually,” Ngota said in an Instagram post. “I love all the guys that participated in this trip and will always consider them brothers. We did this climb for a purpose and it is to bring awareness to the water problem in Africa.”
There was that other purpose though, and it’s the one that got all the social media buzz.
“Just a man standing on top of the world with a heart full of gratitude,” said Ngota, in a picture atop Kilimanjaro. “I’m retiring on top. I might be finished playing football, but I’m holding tight to the friendships, memories and wisdom I’ve gained along the way.”
Ngota, an American of Tongan descent, played most of his career with the Baltimore Ravens adding short stints with the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles.
“Congratulations on a fantastic career,” said the Ravens. “We wish you the best in retirement.”
Image: Haloti Ngata