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New England Patriots Defensive End Rob Ninkovich has announced his retirement today in a press conference. Ninkovich, 33, had been considering retiring for some time and is made official in a press conference.
Drafted in the fifth-round of the 2006 draft, he had two stints with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins for his first three season in the league. He joined the Patriots in August 2009 and has played 123 regular-season games and started in 101 of those games with the Patriots from 2009-2016. He also appeared in 17 playoff games, starting 16 of them.
In his first stint with the New Orleans Saints, Ninkovich appeared in three games in the regular season and played as a reserve defensive end before suffering a knee injury in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons on September 25. He was placed on season ending injured reserve on September 29, finishing the 2006 season with four tackles. During afternoon practice on July 30, he was carted off the field with another injury that caused him to miss preseason action, he was waived by the Saints prior to the start of the 2007 season.
On September 7, 2007, he was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins. He appeared in four regular-season games as a reserve defensive end and was inactive for the other 12 games of the season. He finished the season with two tackles, one each against the New York Jets on September 23 and the New York Giants on October 28. He was promoted to the active roster and played against the Oakland Raiders in a reserve role but did not record any tackles and on November 20, was released to make room for linebacker Erik Walden but was re-signed to the practice squad the following day.
Ninkovich was signed off the Dolphin’s practice squad by the New Orleans Saints on December 2008 but was released on July 30, 2009 after the team signed long snapper Jason Kyle.
He enjoyed great success while being signed with the Patriots, playing and starting in 101 of 123 regular-season games, he also was part of two Super Bowl winning teams (XLIX and XLI). With the Patriots, he recorded 423 tackles and totaled 46 sacks per ESPN, as he was a valuable player with the team with his steadiness and ability to set to set the edge in the running game.
In his 11-year NFL career, he recorded 460 tackles, 46 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, 14 fumble recoveries, 5 interception and 2 touchdowns to end his career.
Per ESPN, he played 44.3 percent of defensive plays snaps in 2016, which was lower than his normal playing time, but he started the season on a four-game suspension for a banned substance he said was an over-the-counter supplement. His playing time however spiked towards the end of the year during the team’s critical games.
Ninkovich was to be projected to be a valuable contributor to start the season, starting opposite to third-year player Trey Flowers, who led the team with 7 sacks last season. Four-year veteran Kony Ealy will now be slated to be the starter, followed by third-year player Geneo Grissom and rookies Deatrich Wise Jr. and Derek Rivers.