Rob Ninkovich retires after 8 seasons with Patriots

Rob Ninkovich retires after 8 seasons with Patriots

Rob Ninkovich retires after 8 seasons with Patriots

Drafted by New Orleans in the fifth round (No. 135 overall) of the 2006 Draft, Ninkovich played in merely eight games his first three seasons.

"Like a lot of guys", Belichick said, "he came in here very unheralded - Brady, Malcolm Butler, guys like that, and the guy he replaced, No. 50, Mike Vrabel - didn't come in with a lot of fanfare but just came in, worked hard and been a very, very versatile player for us".

"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."

"We're thankful for all of Rob's countless contributions for the past eight seasons", Kraft said.

New England brought him on board, and he has been a core member of the team's defense ever since. He became one of the teams more productive pass rushers, and was a key in two-Super Bowl titles in 2014 and 2016.

Ninkovich joined the National Football League in 2006 as a 5th round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints.

Miami claimed him off waivers where he was active for four games of the 2007 season.

His second time in New Orleans didn't last much longer than the first as he was released in July of 2009.

Citing his many injuries, most of which struck early on in his years in the NFL, Ninkovich admitted the struggles he faced both mentally and physically when coming back from injuries. On the field, he'll tell me small things, how to turn my hands to get more extension, little small steps when I'm going down the line instead of big, long steps. Ninkovich has been the flawless example of a Patriot, he has always been a leader on and off the field but he never spoke up nor did he do anything to stop him from doing what he needed to win.

He remained tearful as he spoke to Belichick. "If you see me out there", he said, "I like ice water".

Ninkovich's response: "Coach, I gave you everything I had. And for me, I was trying to build back up, and I just felt I wasn't where I needed to be to be what I am and what I feel like I should be for my teammates and fans and everyone who loves me as a football player". Hopefully my playing career has taught me a lot and playing for you I learned a tremendous amount. They're like my brothers so I'm going to do the best that I can even though I can't go out there and play.

The New England #Patriots won the Super Bowl last season but unlike many other Super Bowl winning teams, the Patriots decided that wasn't good enough. Ninkovich led the team in sacks twice, but also excelled at defending the run and dropping into coverage. There's not one thing that stands out.

Related news