Ninkovich Retires from NFL
July 30, 2017

Retirement Press Conference

Boilermakers In The NFL
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Rob Ninkovich summed it up succinctly.

"There's something to be said about going out on top."

On Sunday, Ninkovich, a member of the Purdue Den of Defensive Ends and a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, announced his retirement from the National Football League.

Ninkovich played 11 seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints (2006, 2008), Miami Dolphins (2007-08) and Patriots (2009-16). He became a star as a linebacker in New England and won his two Super Bowl titles there - XLIX and LI in February.

"It's been such a blessing and a heck of a run," Ninkovich said. "I'm so grateful for the Patriots organization. It's been so much fun, and I really enjoyed it. There are winning and losing performances, and I tried to give the best performance I could every time out there, and I hope there were more wins than losses. Everybody out there with a dream, give it your best effort, and if you do that, you will get to your dreams. I lived it."

For his career, Ninkovich played in 131 games, including 101 starts (all with the Patriots), and recorded 425 tackles, including 46 sacks, with 22 passes defensed, 14 fumble recoveries, 10 forced fumbles and five interceptions. He played in 17 postseason games, including 16 starts, with 64 tackles, including six sacks, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception.

"Rob is one of the most unselfish players I've ever coached," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "Like a lot of guys, he came in here very unheralded ... (He) didn't come in with a lot of fanfare but just came in and worked hard and became a very, very versatile player for us."

Ninkovich started all 16 games for five straight seasons from 2011 to 2015. He became the first Patriot since Hall of Famer Andre Tippett to record at least eight sacks in three straight seasons from 2012 to 2014. Ninkovich's 14 fumble recoveries since 2010 are the most in the NFL over that span. His best statistical season was in 2013, when he started all 16 games and registered a career-high 93 tackles, including eight sacks, with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

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.

Ninkovich was a Boilermaker in 2004 and 2005 after coming to Purdue from Joliet Junior College. In his two seasons, the native of New Lenox, Illinois, recorded 16.0 sacks to rank tied for 10th on the school career list.

As a senior, Ninkovich became a starter midway the season, was named the Boilermakers' Most Valuable Player and second team All-Big Ten after pacing Purdue with 17.0 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks among 48 total tackles (35 solo, 13 assists). He forced two fumbles, had two interceptions and two pass breakups and recovered one fumble.

At his retirement press conference, Ninkovich thanked former Purdue head coach Joe Tiller and defensive coaches Brock Spack, Mark Hagen, Gary Emanuel and Tony Samuel.

"My Purdue days were amazing," Ninkovich said.



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