Rob Ninkovich announces retirement after 11 NFL seasons

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — 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 NFL retirement Sunday afternoon. Ninkovich, 33, has been considering retirement in recent seasons. He entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice of the New Orleans Saints in 2006. A Purdue alum, Ninkovich didn't see his NFL career take off until he joined the Patriots as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2009. He played in 123 regular-season games (101 starts) in New England from 2009 to 2016 and appeared in 17 playoff games (16 starts). He was a team captain in 2013 and 2015 and part of two Super Bowl championship teams.