New England Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich Expected To Retire

The defensive end made it official Sunday afternoon: Ninkovich is retiring after 11 years in the National Football League and eight seasons with the Patriots.

Ninkovich had missed the first three days of training camp for what the Patriots called "personal reasons". There weren't enough seats, so many sat on the floor, a group which included head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

New England Patriots Rob Ninkovich, who played at Lincoln-Way Central and Joliet Junior College, received his second Super Bowl ring last season as the Patiots beat the Atlanta Falcons. As a linebacker and defensive edge, he had appeared in 140 games for the Patriots over the last eight seasons, registering 52.0 sacks and six interceptions in the process and helped the franchise win two Super Bowls.

This story will be updated.

Ninkovich participated in offseason workouts with the Patriots, going through organized team activities and minicamp with his teammates. Ninkovich's retirement opens up $685,000 in cap space while creating $1.05 million in dead money.

The hard-nose linebacker was a fifth-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 2006 NFL Draft. He was a team captain in 2013 and 2015 and was a big part of bringing two championships to the team.

Ninkovich was credited with 423 tackles and 46 sacks with the Patriots, as his steadiness and ability to set the edge in the running game was particularly valuable to the club. Ninkovich choked up several times during his delivery, including when he spoke directly to Belichick.

After Belichick spoke at length about Ninkovich as a special player and "really special guy", it was Kraft's turn to heap praise on Ninkovich during what Belichick described as a day of mixed emotions.

While his career on the field has come to an end, Ninkovich said he is looking to make a splash in the media part of the National Football League, and hinted towards an interest in broadcasting. "I love this game". "Me and him have a great relationship, just being honest".

  • Angelo Rivera