New England Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich Expected To Retire

Hope Soto
July 31, 2017

After Ninkovich announced his retirement from the National Football League on Sunday, both Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft lauded the 33-year-old linebacker for an 11-year career that saw him win a pair of Super Bowls with the Patriots.

Ninkovich had missed the first three days of training camp for what the Patriots called "personal reasons".

His connection to the entire team and organization was evident as virtually the entire team appeared in the media room with several players and coaches, including Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia, sitting on the floor. He signed with the Patriots in 2009, had four sacks in 2010, and by 2011 he had earned the starting job.

This story will be updated. Ninkovich's retirement opens up $685,000 in cap space while creating $1.05 million in dead money.

Ninkovich was entering his ninth season with the Patriots. But what Belichick loved the most out of Ninkovich, originally a fifth-round pick from Purdue by the Saints in the 2006 NFL Draft, was his toughness.

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A defensive end and linebacker, he was a two-time co-captain and won two Super Bowls with New England. Ninkovich was never a Pro Bowler but he was always right in the thick of things, finishing his career with 46 sacks, 14 fumble recoveries and five interceptions.

When Ninkovich was with New Orleans, he dealt with injuries, and coaches struggled to find a good fit for him in their 4-3 defense.

Ninkovich was a special player in the league and he helped the Pats a lot in stopping the run.

Belichick and Kraft spoke before Ninkovich made his announcement. "I love this game". "If you see me out there", he said, "I like ice water. Nick [Caserio] said 'There's a guy, Rob, he should be on a roster, he should be in a camp and he's available so let's get him.' Really, it's just history after that".

"He is a great teammate to have".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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