After a dozen years, 131 games and two Super Bowl Championships, offensive linebacker Rob Ninkovich has decided to call it a career.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, the 33-year-old decided to hang it up due to "personal reasons".
It's worth noting that Ninkovich wasn't present for the first three days of the Patriots' training camp.
Ninkovich signed as a free agent with the Patriots in 2009 after he struggled to find time on the field playing with the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins. He was picked by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round, 135th overall of the 2006 NFL Draft.
He found a home playing for Bill Belichick and the Patriots, becoming a core member of the team's defense.
Ninkovich is quoted as saying:
“For me, it’s just a blessing to play as long as I have. I look back on it, and it’s truly a blessing. Where I came from to where I’m at now, it’s unbelievable.”
Fortunately, the Patriots seem to have been getting ready for this announcement, whether it was for this season or next. New England spent a lot of their draft picks on young players who could potentially replace Ninkovich, such as Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise. They also brought in Kony Ealy via trade, and also signed Lawrence Guy.
There's no doubt that the Patriots will miss Ninkovich's presence, both on the field and in the locker room, but they seem to have some viable options to step in for the veteran.
Source: Bernard Buchmasser - SB Nation · Photo Credit: KEYSTONE PRESS