Rob Ninkovich announces his retirement

Getty Images

Reports that Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich would announce his retirement appeared on Sunday morning and Ninkovich made it official on Sunday afternoon.

The team held a press conference attended by many of Ninkovich’s teammates and kicked it off with coach Bill Belichick at the podium to talk about a player who joined the team in 2009 and was part of two Super Bowl champions. Belichick noted that Ninkovich, who had stints with the Saints and Dolphins before coming to New England, came in without any fanfare before carving out a key role as a linebacker and defensive end.

Belichick called Ninkovich one of the most unselfish players he’s ever coached and owner Robert Kraft lauded him as one of the most “productive, albeit unassuming” players in the league before Ninkovich stepped up to the microphone.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but after 11 seasons and 19 years playing football it’s time for me to walk away,” Ninkovich said.

Ninkovich called getting released by the Saints in 2009 a blessing because it allowed him to join the Patriots and got emotional at times as he ran through a long list of people he thanked for making an impact on his career dating back to high school. He closed his remarks by saying there’s something special about going out on top and then going to hug the Patriots players who will be trying to stay on top without his help this season.

75 responses to “Rob Ninkovich announces his retirement

  1. Class act, another in the long list of unselfish players that epitomise what it means to be a team first player. The Pats are gonna miss him, as will us fans. Thank Rob.

  2. Thanks for everything rob! After leaving the navy in 2014, I moved to the Chicago suburbs where my wife is from. Little did I know, 5 miles away, was his high school. I got to meet him and put on his super bowl 49 ring. Even said boiler up when he saw my Notre dame tattoo. We chatted for several minutes about me being from mass and how he liked living in Foxborough, even down to why he should be a Bruins fan instead of a Hawks fan 🤔. Outstanding gentleman. It was an honor to watch him for 8 seasons.Truly underrated guy. We are going to miss him.

  3. Nink will be missed big time. Solid, smart, excellent pass rusher, grinder and worked hard to make himself a terrific player…Good luck Nink and thanks for big contributions towards 2 rings.

  4. Good but not great player. Very good man.

    I hope that he will follow in Vrabel’s footsteps and become a linebacker coach. Like Vrabel, his football mind was always better than his football body.

  5. Good Luck, Rob!
    Thank you for all of your hard work, and for helping this team stay on top for so long. We could always count on you, and you never let us down.
    We will miss you for sure!

  6. The quintessential Belichick player. A castoff from other teams that became a mainstay by doing his job and bringing it on every play. Congrats on a great career!

    And now for the inevitable shameless troll parade they will be along to show their complete lack of football knowledge by demeaning a player who had himself a heck of a career and went out a champion.

  7. Thanks Rob, for nine solid years of clutch play and always being around the ball. You came up huge for the Pats on many occasions. You will be missed!

  8. Like so many others, he was a product of the Patriots system. Still, he was a great Patriot and wish him best of luck in retirement.

  9. Yeah Rob it was a blessing for the Saints and Phins too… You did nothing your first few years in the league…facts

  10. I would like to thank Rob for all the positive contributions he made to the 2nd favorite team in this household. But, as a Giants fan first, I want to personally thank him for the mighty assist he gave in the 2nd SB victory over the Patriots.

    “Offsides, number 50 on the defense. 5-yard penalty, repeat 3rd down.”

    A senseless penalty, instead of punting, it gave the Giants a second chance to convert, and Eli marched them another 50 yards, flipping the field late in the game, and most likely costing the Patriots a victory.

    I’ll always be grateful for your help.

  11. Class act!!!
    Wish him all the best in his retirement & future endeavors
    Be interesting to see who steps it up for the Pats…. I hope Kony Ealy plays like he did in the SB vs Donkeys!!!!
    Go Pats!!

  12. Another player retiring after word of 110 of 111 ex-players had CTE after they died. Nink will still probably have a form of CTE after 11 years of hard hits, hopefully he will not have any of the severe effects as he gets older. Hell of a player – Giants fan

  13. Thanks for your service as a true Patriot. He came into New England as a New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphin reject looking for a chance to try to make the roster (Payton and Sparano both cut him) but Bill Belichick knew how to develop his strengths.

  14. This says more about hoodie than this guy.. like most guys, complete garbage in the NFL but become a solid guy in NE.

    Average at his very best, but bb just knows what to do. Winning 5 bowls with Brady isn’t putting BB in the HOF…it’s winning 5 with this guy and others like him is..

    Lots of teams woukd have won Super Bowls with Brady…how many would have with ninkovich

    And yes I’m complimenting your team

  15. He was a smart player and very consistent. He always seemed to be in position and around the ball. He made a huge play in SB 49 to turn that game around. People remember the Butler pick, but forget the tremendous comeback. Seattle was up 24-14 in the 4th quarter with ball and Nink got Wilson on 3rd and 7.

  16. afifthlombardiforthehaters says:
    Jul 30, 2017 1:00 PM
    Let me start this off by saying he got tired of cheating…

    Yeah I beat all you morons to it.

    ————-

    Not trolling is an option too did you know?

  17. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    Jul 30, 2017 1:08 PM

    Like so many others, he was a product of the Patriots system. Still, he was a great Patriot and wish him best of luck in retirement.
    —————————

    Do you even know what the Patriots system is?

    Do your Jets have a system?

  18. Funny, the Pats have more no-life “fake fans” than any other team on this board. 2 regulars are on this very post, and seemingly oscillate between back-handed compliments of the Pats and down right over-the-top arrogance.
    All in absurdly transparent attempts to stir up Pats Haters by posing as overly insulting Pats fans.

    While other teams ( Dolphins fans lead the PFT league in this stat, by a wide margin) have single users with multiple screen names, trying to pile on the hate, Pats have by far the most “fake fans” on this site.

    Kinda sad to think you have to hide on line to make your idiotic “points”. Yes, I use the term “point” about as loosely as Trip Tomlin or Pete the cheat manages their locker rooms.

  19. lifetimefan says:
    Jul 30, 2017 12:56 PM
    Class act, another in the long list of unselfish players that epitomise what it means to be a team first player. The Pats are gonna miss him, as will us fans. Thank Rob.
    ———-

    Enough with the “class” garbage. And “unselfish/team first.”

    He got busted with PEDs. Was a nobody without them. Getting suspended for selfish gain is “class” and “team first”?

  20. .
    patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    Jul 30, 2017 1:08 PM

    Like so many others, he was a product of the Patriots system. Still, he was a great Patriot and wish him best of luck in retirement.
    —————————

    Do you even know what the Patriots system is?

    Do your Jets have a system

    ————

    Yeah, losing.
    .

  21. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Jul 30, 2017 3:39 PM
    Can’t play without the PEDs.

    ———-

    Yes we saw what Manning looked like without “his wife’s” HGH

  22. After reading some of the posts one has to wonder if the ongoing evidence of CTE and the latest information played into the decision. I hope it did and I hope other players from other teams think long and hard about future health.

  23. “Offsides, number 50 on the defense. 5-yard penalty, repeat 3rd down.”

    Every other play in that game also affected the outcome.

  24. “Yeah Rob it was a blessing for the Saints and Phins too… You did nothing your first few years in the league…facts”

    That would be a reflection of the poor coaching on the Saints and Fins at the time. Excellent coaching turned him into a very productive player.

    Good coaches put their players in a position to succeed. Bad coaches don’t.

  25. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Jul 30, 2017 3:39 PM
    Can’t play without the PEDs.
    ——————————
    IF anyone would know& understand that, it would definitely be a Steelers fan…..it’s the foundation they BUILT their franchise on…

  26. Don’t care about Peyton.

    We’re talking about Ninkovich.

    Try to stay on topic for once. We have seen on these posts how impossibly difficult that is for Patriots “fans.”

  27. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    Jul 30, 2017 1:08 PM
    Like so many others, he was a product of the Patriots system. Still, he was a great Patriot and wish him best of luck in retirement.
    ————————-
    Right, just like Montana, Rice were products of Bill Walsh’s system, Elway and Davis were products of Shanahans system, Jim Kelly a product of Marv Levey’s system, Marino a product of Shula’s system. See how stupid your argument is?

  28. Nice job Nink! Reminded me of McGinest, always there with a big play at the most crucial time. Best of luck Ninkovich!

  29. Ok, so my saying on today’s earlier thread that he’d retire next year (after SB52!) was out by a year, but was prob downthumbed for even suggesting he’d ever retire – or maybe it was downthumbed for suggesting the Pats might reach SB52?.. But anyway, in that same post I mentioned Caleb Kidder was prob signed a few days ago because his play looks a bit Nink-like and was maybe seen as a potential eventual replacement – and I still think that. Go watch his video on NESN.

    Best of luck with the future Nink, and thanks!

  30. Lol….NOTHING can destroy this TEAM…. Not even jealous owners & a corrupt commish & league…. PATS HAVE PROVEN THAT BOY!!!

  31. Right now? He got busted again and it couldn’t be covered up like most patriot scams are. Goodell and Kraft discussed it while partying at Krafts house and decided it was time for him to call it a career.

  32. Wasn’t he just flapping his gums the other day?

    Now retires out of the blue?

    Yeah, that’s not suspicious, on the heels of getting busted with PEDs this time last year.

  33. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Jul 30, 2017 4:30 PM
    Don’t care about Peyton.

    We’re talking about Ninkovich.

    Try to stay on topic for once. We have seen on these posts how impossibly difficult that is for Patriots “fans.”
    _________________

    We’ve also seen how hard it is for trolls to save their bile for more appropriate topics. Injury and retirement threads aren’t really the place for throwing shade. No matter what they are paid or what uniform they wear we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that players are putting themselves at risk out there for our entertainment. Rather than look even smaller than usual here on this type of thread why not save your envy and jealousy fueled hate for another time?

  34. sb44champs says:
    Jul 30, 2017 1:18 PM
    Yeah Rob it was a blessing for the Saints and Phins too… You did nothing your first few years in the league…facts
    ————————————————————–
    Yeah I’d be a bitter fan of a one shot wonder team who’s star QB hamstrung them beyond repair. He stayed and got his while Saint fans got theirs………right in the butt. No worries, maybe in another 43 years you can take the bags off your heads again…………..but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  35. Pats fan here. Thanks for all you’ve done, #50, and enjoy your retirement.

    There have been a few disparaging remarks here about some players being ‘system players’, as if that is something to be ashamed of.

    Let’s define a ‘system player’ as someone who plays well within the system designed by the coach and thrives within that ‘system’, so the team wins games.

    Q: What’s wrong with that?

  36. factpurveyorblog says:
    Jul 30, 2017 4:23 PM

    Combination of peds and cheating. Couldn’t afford the peds and he realized the rings were all tainted with cheating.

    ——————————————————–
    Hopefully the postings claiming “cheating” are an effort to intentionally appear to be dense.

    A 12 minute video is available online that would show anyone with more than 2 functional brain cells how the Patriots and Colts footballs dropped PSI. The video also gives you an idea as to why the Colts footballs had higher PSI numbers after they were allowed to warm up indoors while all 11 of the Patriots footballs were measured twice .

    If you no longer wish to be willfully ignorant the video can be found by searching online for: ““DEFLATE GATE & WHY SCIENCE SAYS THE PATRIOTS DID NOT TAMPER WITH FOOTBALLS”

  37. This is my second time posting on here. I see a ton of stupid stuff going on. First off let’s stop the cheating crap. There was no cheating. It’s old now.
    Secondly we as Patriots fans need to stop arguing with juniors. We know what’s true. We are not children. The kids posting are wishing for us to send negative comments back. stop and grow up!

    How about we all just enjoy the season that’s only a few weeks away!

    Good luck to every team. A new season a new day!!!!

  38. Anyone else convinced that the following are all the same person?

    cletuspstillwaterjr
    theonefin
    finnymcphin

    RandyinRoxbury
    patsfan4lifesbchamps

    jetphan

  39. 1historian says:
    Jul 30, 2017 7:45 PM

    Let’s define a ‘system player’ as someone who plays well within the system designed by the coach and thrives within that ‘system’, so the team wins games.

    —————————————————————-

    The term “system” is mostly used by fools who believe they can discredit players.

    I’m pretty sure that every team calls a play on every down and then runs that play or makes a change at the line. The idea is to not have a system so that the team is not predictable.

    Everything else teams do should be to get ready to run plays effectively. Its called being an effective manger….in this case the manager is called a “coach”

  40. Rob was a class act on & off the field.
    That putz Sparano cut him before he could show anything-
    It’s a shame no one else reads player potential like Belichick
    Glad he’s had a successful career, shame it wasn’t in Miami.

  41. Bitter fan?? I think not… Saints made all the right moves and the evidence is we won the title the same season we released Rob Ninkovick… Proof is in the pudding…Don’t be mad, be glad..p

  42. Whenever things didn’t look too good for the Patriots and a big play was needed Rob Ninkovich was there to save the day. Not so much a game winner but a game saver, and teams need these guys as much as guys who can win games. Have a great retirement, Nink, and thanks for saving our butts more than once.

  43. Sounds like a good guy. Best wishes, really hope life after football does not include CTE. Seems that 99% of the players whose brains have been tested were positive. I hope the NFL can resolve this without ruining the game.

  44. giants2pats0 says:
    July 30, 2017 at 1:24 pm
    I would like to thank Rob for all the positive contributions he made to the 2nd favorite team in this household. But, as a Giants fan first, I want to personally thank him for the mighty assist he gave in the 2nd SB victory over the Patriots.

    “Offsides, number 50 on the defense. 5-yard penalty, repeat 3rd down.”

    A senseless penalty, instead of punting, it gave the Giants a second chance to convert, and Eli marched them another 50 yards, flipping the field late in the game, and most likely costing the Patriots a victory.

    I’ll always be grateful for your help.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    Got to hand it to the Giants fans. No one ever accused them of being classy.

Leave a Reply