Haloti Ngata is one of the more mild-mannered, unassuming players in the Ravens' locker room.
He speaks with a quiet, calm demeanor, doesn't curse, and rarely has a negative word to say about anyone.
That's what makes Ngata's response to a question yesterday afternoon all the more surprising.
The Ravens' Pro Bowl defensive tackle, who has now played in 10 games against the Steelers over his five seasons in Baltimore, was asked why the Ravens and Steelers seem to have such a dislike for each other.
"I don't know, I just know that we hate 'em a lot," Ngata said.
Well, there you go.
Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. This rivalry sucks everyone in, and after all, Ngata is participating in the toughest part of it all, pushing and shoving in the trenches against the Pittsburgh offensive line for 60 minutes twice a year.
But hearing the H-bomb from Ngata, of all people, really shows how much the players appreciate this game and the importance it holds.
Ngata said that he's grown to understand the rivalry between these two AFC North foes over the course of his NFL career.
He might not have fully grasped the importance of these Ravens-Steelers matchups right away, but there's no doubt that he does at this point.
"You know, my first year coming here, I wasn't big into it because I didn't know what it was about," Ngata said. "Now, I've been here a couple years, and it's just a game we always look forward to. We're so alike, but we just dislike each other a bunch.
"Our fans feel the same way about them and their fans feel the same way about us. We love playing this game."