Looking to round out their defensive line rotation, the Ravens has signed veteran nose tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu, the team announced Wednesday. Kemoeatu will likely replace backup nose tackle Brandon McKinney, who signed with Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts in free agency.
Kemoeatu, 33 got his start as an undrafted free agent with the Ravens in 2002. A Tonga native and a Utah graduate, Kemoeatu played four seasons with the Ravens. He started 16 games and made 30 tackles in 2005, his final season in Baltimore. He has also played for the Carolina Panthers (2006-08) and the Washington Redskins (2010). Kemoeatu, who missed the entire 2009 season with a torn Achilles tendon, did not play in 2011.
“When we signed Maake as a rookie free agent in 2002, he really rose to the occasion and worked his way into becoming a highly-regarded player in Baltimore and throughout the league,” director of pro personnel Vincent Newsome said in a statement. “He is incredibly strong -- someone who has heavy hands and great punch. For a guy his size, he also moves really well and creates separation.”
The 6-foot-5, 335-pound defensive tackle has played 121 career games, 73 of them starts, making 237 tackles and recording four sacks.
Terrence Cody, now in his third NFL season, started at nose tackle in every game for the Ravens in 2011. Haloti Ngata can also play the nose, but the Ravens were looking for someone who can be the primary backup to Cody after McKinney signed with the Colts. Kemoeatu will compete for snaps in the team’s defensive line rotation along with Arthur Jones, Pernell McPhee and seventh-round pick DeAngelo Tyson. Baylor’s Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and Kent State’s Ishmaa’ily Kitchen could also be in the mix if they pass physicals and join the Ravens as undrafted free agents.
"Maake will be given an opportunity to make our 53-man roster, and if he does, he will provide added depth on our D-line and help our ability to stop the run,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement.
Kemoeatu is the older brother of free-agent guard Chris Kemoeatu, who played seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers.