New England Patriot, Rob Ninkovich, Retires from the NFL
When Rob Ninkovich missed the first days of New England Patriots training camp the rumor of a retirement spread like wild fire. On Sunday in front of the media at Gillette Stadium, the eight-year Patriot announced his retirement from the NFL.
The linebacker played 8 seasons for New England and retires at the age of 33-years-old. Before joining New England he spent three seasons as a part-time player between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins.
Ninkovich led the Patriots in sacks twice (2012, 2014) and was a versatile defender, shifting between end and linebacker. The retirement isn’t a big surprise given his comments he made to Mark Daniels a couple of weeks ago.
“When I was younger, you see a guy who’s my age or older and you’re like, ‘Jeez, that’s so and so? The Pro Bowler?’ It’s kind of one of those. It’s sad. … You have to monitor yourself and make sure you don’t get to that point. … I still feel really good. That’s the one key,” Ninkovich said, per Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal on July 19th.
Ninkovich played in 123 regular-season games (101 starts) in New England from 2009 to 2016 and appeared in 17 playoff games (16 starts). He was a team captain in 2013 and 2015 and part of two Super Bowl championship teams.
Ninkovich was credited with 423 tackles and 46 sacks with the Patriots, without him the Patriots are now weak at linebacker. The Patriots depth chart at linebacker now reads Trey Flowers, Kony Ealy, Geneo Grissom, Derek Rivers, and Deatrich Wise Jr.
In the announcement press conference on Sunday, many Patriots players were in attendance to hear their teammate address the media.
Now it looks Iike most of the team is here for Ninkovich’s presser pic.twitter.com/jeaibhO9V8
— Meredith Gorman (@MereGorman) July 30, 2017
— Bob Socci (@BobSocci) July 30, 2017
Almost the entire team was present, an impressive sign of respect for a remarkable player. Patriots Owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft were also at the presser along with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
“He’s Croatian, so I knew he was tough.” said Belichick, “Rob is one of the most unselfish players I’ve ever coached.”.
We will have more on this story a bit later with more reactions from Ninkovich and his teammates.