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Rob Ninkovich announces retirement from NFL

Rob Ninkovich announces retirement from NFL

Rob Ninkovich announces retirement from NFL

New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who has been absent from training camp for what coach Bill Belichick described as personal reasons, announced his National Football League retirement Sunday afternoon. New England won the AFC East in each of Ninkovich's eight seasons with the team. He entered the National Football League as a fifth-round draft choice of the New Orleans Saints in 2006.

A fifth-round pick out of Purdue, Ninkovich, who played for the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins before joining the Patriots in 2009, told the assembled staff, players and media that it was time to listen to his body and call it a career.

He ended his career as a two-time Super Bowl champion, having been a vital part of the Patriots defense. He also played in 17 postseason games with 16 starts and finished with 64 total tackles, six sacks, one interception, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports Patriots DE/LB Rob Ninkovich has made a decision to retire.

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

But by the end of the year, in the team's most critical games, his playing time had spiked.

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Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich share an embrace at the end of Ninkovich's retirement news conference.

"He's got a lot of great attributes, and one of the best, I think, is his first name", Kraft joked "Secondly, as Coach and I have described, he was a great player for us for almost a decade".

"I'm so grateful to the Patriots organization ... man, it's been so much fun".

"I won't miss ice tubs and being sore for a week". And I hope it was enough. If I am not mistaken early in his career he bounced around a little bit and been cut a couple of times.

To special-teams captain Matthew Slater, he said, "I love you, brother". "I love this game". "He's Croatian so I knew he was tough".

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