Patriots' defensive stalwart Ninkovich retires

Jul 31, 2017, 00:28
Patriots' defensive stalwart Ninkovich retires

Speculation on the 33-year-old's status for the upcoming season heightened when he didn't appear for the first day of Patriots' training camp. Just today, a star of the Patriots announced his retirement in the NFL after eleven seasons in the league.

#Rob Ninkovich issued a statement at the conference with the team on Sunday.

Ninkovich made the announcement surrounded by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and the coaching staff, and many teammates including quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, captain Matthew Slater, safety Devin McCourty, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

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Ninkovich also won two Super Bowls with the Patriots and became one of the impact players on their defense during what has been an incredibly successful run. Underneath the message was Ninkovich's No. 50, with a New England Patriots logo in the middle, and then five images of Ninkovich, one of which was him kissing the Lombardi Trophy.

"I really appreciate the time you have given me away from your family, and I love you", Ninkovich said to Patricia, his voice beginning to crack, as Patricia's eyes welled up.

Belichick spoke first and noted how Ninkovich is one of the most unselfish players he's ever coached.

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There were some laughs too, with Ninkovich saying he looked forward to tailgating, something he hasn't done before. I hope it was enough. And while Trey Flowers is locked into one starting spot, Kony Ealy, Derek Rivers, Geneo Grissom and Deatrich Wise Jr. are now fighting for the other.

"Got to love a guy like Ninko, you know, cause maybe half the guys here might not know who he is but he has had a great career", Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. But when he was on New England he was uncuttable. "Me and him have a great relationship, just being honest".

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