CAREER TRANSACTIONS Rob Ninkovich
was signed by the New England Patriots as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2009 … Originally drafted by New Orleans in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2006 draft … Waived by New Orleans (9/6/07) … Claimed off waivers and awarded to Miami from New Orleans (9/7/07) … Waived by Miami (9/31/08) … Signed by Miami to the practice squad (9/3/08) … Signed by Miami to the 53-man roster from the practice squad (11/15/08) … Waived by Miami (11/21/08) … Signed by Miami to the practice squad (11/22/08) … Signed by New Orleans to the 53-man roster from the Miami practice squad (12/3/08) … Waived by New Orleans (7/30/09). CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
SEASONAL REVIEWS 2014 (16/16, 3/3)
- Named team captain for the first time in 2013.
- Named to the USA Today All-Joe Team in 2013.
- Entered the league as a fifth-round pick of New Orleans in 2006 and was waived four times by New Orleans and Miami before landing in New England on Aug. 2, 2009. He spent the 2009 offseason trying to make the New Orleans team as a long snapper. Before coming to the Patriots he had appeared in just eight games over three years.
- Recorded the second-longest fumble return in Patriots history at San Diego (10/24/10), when he returned a Chargers fumble 63 yards to the San Diego 8-yard line.
- Converted from defensive line to linebacker when he entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick of New Orleans in 2006.
- Converted position for the second time in his professional career, moving from linebacker to defensive end in 2012.
- First player since Willie McGinest in 1995 (11) and 1996 (9½) with back-to-back seasons posting at least eight sacks, with eight sacks in 2012 and 13. Ninkovich is the only player in the Bill Belichick era to achieve this feat.
- His 11 fumble recoveries since 2010 are the most in the NFL over that span.
2013 (16/16, 2,2)
- Started at defensive end and played every defensive snap in the Super Bowl XLIX win vs. Seattle (2/1/15), finishing with six tackles and one sack (-8 yards).
- Started at defensive end and posted three tackles, two quarterback hits and two passes defensed in the AFC Championship win vs. Indianapolis (1/18/15).
- Started at defensive end and posted six tackles and one quarterback hit in the AFC Divisional win vs. Baltimore (1/10/15).
- Finished the season with a team-high eight sacks.
- Started at defensive end and tallied three tackles vs. Buffalo (12/28).
- Started at defensive end and played every defensive snap in the win at N.Y. Jets (12/21), finishing with three tackles.
- Started at defensive end and played every defensive snap in the win vs. Miami (12/14), finishing with three tackles, one pass defensed and his team-high eighth sack. He is the first Patriots player since Andre Tippett (1985-87) to record at least eight sacks in three consecutive seasons.
- Started at defensive end and played every defensive snap in the win at San Diego (12/7), finishing with five tackles and his team-high seventh sack.
- Started at defensive end and handled long snapping duties for the first time in a regular season game for the Patriots at Green Bay (11/30), posting five tackles.
- Started and recorded three tackles and a sack of Matthew Stafford for a nine-yard loss in the first quarter of the win vs. Detroit (11/23).
- Started and recorded four tackles, one sack and two quarterback hits in the win at Indianapolis (11/16).
- Recovered a fumble that was forced by Zach Moore and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of the win vs. Chicago (10/26). It was his second career touchdown and he now has an NFL-best 13 career opponent fumble recoveries.
- Started and played every defensive snap in the win vs. N.Y. Jets (10/16), finishing with four tackles.
- Posted his first career three-sack game in the win at Buffalo (10/12), taking down college teammate Kyle Orton for a loss of 19 yards.
- Started and played every defensive snap vs. Cincinnati (10/5), finishing with three tackles.
- Started and posted two tackles at Kansas City (9/29).
- Started and played every defensive snap in the win vs. Oakland (9/21), finishing with four tackles.
- Posted three solo tackles and one sack (-10 yards) in the win at Minnesota (9/14).
- Started in the season opener at Miami (9/7) and recorded three tackles on defense and one special teams stop.
2012 (16/16, 2/2)
- Named a captain for the first time.
- Named to the USA Today All-Joe Team.
- Started all 16 regular-season games and registered a career-high 93 tackles, eight sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
- Extended consecutive regular-season games played streak to 70.
- Started both postseason contests and made three tackles.
- Started at left defensive end at Buffalo (9/8) and recovered a fumble. The takeaway led to a Patriots touchdown. Also registered eight tackles.
- Recovered a third-quarter fumble that was forced on a sack by Logan Ryan in the third quarter vs. Miami (10/27). Also compiled four tackles and a sack that led to a Chandler Jones blocked field goal.
- Compiled six tackles and his first strip-sack of the season vs. Pittsburgh (11/3) on the Steelers first drive. The fumble was recovered by the Patriots. Left the game in the third quarter with a foot injury and did not return.
- Returned to action and compiled his second career multiple-sack game at Carolina (11/18).
- Posted the first double-digit tackle game of his career with a career-high 11 tackles vs. Denver (11/24).
- Equaled his career high by picking up his eighth sack of the year in the regular-season finale vs. Buffalo (12/29).
2011 (16/16, 3/3)
- Moved from linebacker to defensive end and started all 16 regular-season contests and compiled 61 tackles, a career-high eight sacks, one pass defensed, forced a career-high five fumbles and recovered four others.
- Started both playoff games and accumulated 12 tackles and two sacks, one interception and two passes defensed.
- His four strip-sacks were tied for the second most in a single season in team history. Three were recovered by New England:
- Week 4 at Buffalo (Recovered by BUF)
- Week 5 vs. Denver (Recovered by NE)
- Week 7 vs. N.Y. Jets (Recovered by NE)
- Week 11 vs. Indianapolis (Recovered by NE)
- Started and made five tackles, including a strip sack of Ryan Fitzpatrick for five yards in the win at Buffalo (9/30).
- Became second player in as many weeks, joining Brandon Spikes, and eighth player in team history to force two or more fumbles in a game vs. Denver (10/7). His first forced fumble came on a strip-sack of Peyton Manning in the third quarter that led to a touchdown and the second was late in the game deep in Patriots territory that sealed the win for the Patriots.
- Made six tackles and finished with a ½ sack in the overtime win vs. N.Y. Jets (10/21), including the final play of the game where he and Jermaine Cunningham combined for a sack and Ninkovich forced and recovered a fumble to end the game.
- Compiled a season-high seven tackles and a strip-sack and recovery of Andrew Luck that led to a Patriots touchdown in the win vs. Indianapolis (11/18).
- Had five tackles and his career-high and team leading eighth sack of the season vs. San Francisco (12/16).
- Started at left end in the win vs. Miami (12/30), but left in the second quarter with a hip injury and did not return.
- Compiled four tackles and an interception that the Patriots converted into a touchdown in the AFC Divisional Playoff win vs. Houston (1/13).
- Tallied eight tackles and two sacks in the AFC Championship vs. Baltimore (1/20).
- Started all three playoff games and made 16 tackles, 2.0 sacks for 12.5 yards and four quarterback hits.
- Made four tackles including a half-sack for 3.0 yards and two quarterback hits against the N.Y. Giants (2/5).
- Started at linebacker and accumulated a playoff single-game career-high seven tackles against Baltimore (1/22).
- Started and collected five tackles and 1.5 sacks for 9.5 yards. Also forced a fumble on Denver’s first drive that led to a Patriots touchdown (1/14).
- Started all 16 games and finished with career highs in tackles (62) and sacks (6.5 for 54 yards). Also scored his first career touchdown on an interception return.
- Assisted on two tackles in win over Bills (1/1).
- Accumulated five tackles including his fifth sack in six games which forced his first career fumble vs. Miami (12/24). Also made one special teams tackle.
- Picked up five tackles including his fourth sack in the last five games for 28 yards against the Broncos (12/18). Also recovered a second-quarter fumble that led to a field goal.
- Made six tackles in the Patriots win over the Redskins (12/11).
- Finished with three tackles and his third straight game with a sack, an eight-yard loss, against the Colts (12/4).
- Finished with three tackles and one sack for a seven yard loss in Philadelphia (11/27).
- Picked up six tackles, two quarterback hits and one sack for a five-yard loss against the Chiefs (11/21).
- Keyed the Patriots defense to a win against the N.Y. Jets (11/13) with five tackles and two second-half interceptions, the latter led to his first career touchdown.
- Collected seven tackles, one quarterback hit and a pass defensed against the N.Y. Giants (11/6). Also recovered a fumble on a muffed Giants punt that led to a Patriots field goal.
- Registered three tackles in Pittsburgh (10/30).
- Made five stops and registered one pass defensed against the Cowboys (10/16).
- Made a season-high six tackles and registered a half sack against the Jets (10/9).
- Started at outside linebacker and finished with six tackles at Oakland (10/2).
- Made his third consecutive start at outside linebacker in Buffalo (9/25) and finished with one tackle.
- Started and made a key fourth-quarter fumble recovery that led to a Patriots touchdown against the Chargers (9/18).
- Recorded one tackle and one quarterback hit in a start against the Dolphins (9/12).
2009 (15/0, 1/0)
- Finished the season with a career-best 58 total tackles on defense,4.0 sacks, two interceptions, three passes defended, three fumble recoveries and 11 special team tackles. His three fumble recoveries tied for first in the AFC and third in the NFL
- Made two tackles in reserve role against the Jets (12/6).
- Contributed two tackles in a reserve role against the Lions (11/25).
- Made two tackles in a reserve role against the Colts (11/21).
- Credited with three tackles against Pittsburgh (11/14).
- Started at outside linebacker against the Browns and recorded four tackles (11/7).
- Made three tackles and one special teams tackle against the Vikings, including a stop of Visanthe Shiancoe on thirdand- three, forcing a Vikings punt in the third quarter (10/31).
- Returned a Chargers fumble 63 yards to the San Diego 8-yard line, setting up a field goal by Stephen Gostkowski (10/24). The return was the second longest fumble return in Patriots history, second only to Richard Seymour's 68-yard touchdown return (10/3/04). Registered one tackle.
- Registered a career-high nine tackles in his fourth start of the season against Baltimore (10/17).
- Recorded his first two NFL interceptions against Miami (10/4), picking off a QB Chad Henne in the first quarter and again in the second quarter, marking the first twointerception game for a Patriot since Leigh Bodden had three vs. NY. Jets on Nov. 22, 2009. Ninkovich also added his second career sack in the fourth quarter, five tackles and one special teams tackle. Charles Woodson was the only NFL player that had two interceptions and a sack in the same game last season.
- Started his second straight game, recording two tackles against Buffalo (9/26).
- Made his first career start against the Jets, registering five tackles and one special teams tackle (9/19).
- Was credited with his first career fumble recovery when James Sanders stripped RB Cedric Benson in the first quarter of the season opener against the Bengals to give the Patriots a first down on the Bengals 28-yard line (9/12).
2008 (1/0 - Miami/New Orleans)
- Waived by New Orleans late in July and was signed by New England on Aug. 2, 2009.
- Played in a career-high 15 games, while also setting personal bests in tackles (10), passes defensed (2) and special teams tackles (11).
- Was inactive vs. the N.Y. Jets (11/22).
- Saw significant action at outside linebacker at Denver (10/11) and registered his first NFL sack hauling down former Purdue teammate Kyle Orton for a 3-yard loss in the second quarter.
- Tallied a career-high four tackles on defense in the Patriots 59-0 victory vs. Tennessee (10/18).
- Played on special teams in the postseason game vs. Baltimore (1/10).
2007 (4/0 - Miami)
- Began the season on the Miami practice squad.
- Was signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. 15 and saw action in a reserve role vs. Oakland (11/16).
- Was waived by Miami on Nov. 20 and re-signed to the Miami practice squad.
- Signed by New Orleans off the Miami practice squad on Dec. 3 and was inactive for the final four games of the season.
2006 (3/0 - New Orleans)
- Played in four games for Miami in a reserve role.
- Was inactive for 12 contests.
- Finished the year with two special teams tackles.
- As a rookie with the Saints, played in three games as a reserve and posted two tackles and a pass defensed on defense and two special teams tackles.
- Sustained a knee injury in a week three game vs. Atlanta (9/25) and was placed on injured reserve.
- Was a two-year letterman at Purdue (204-05) during which time he played in 23 games with five starts.
- Amassed 71 tackles, 16 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery during that time.
- As a senior, was a second-team All-Big Ten selection when he registered 48 tackles, eight sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
- Also caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Curtis Painter in a 37-3 win over Illinois.
- Matched his single-game career high total for sacks with four against Indiana for the second year in a row.
- Tallied eight sacks as a junior, including two in a 41-16 victory over Notre Dame when he hauled in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Orton.
- Transferred to Purdue following a two-year stint at Joliet (Ill.) Junior College (2002-03).
- While there, set the school single-season record for sacks with 16 in 2003.
- Helped Joliet Junior College to the NJCAA National Championship as a freshman in 2002.
- Majored in organizational leadership and supervision.
HONORS & AWARDS 2013
- Robert Michael Ninkovich was born on Feb. 1, 1984, in Blue Island, Ill.
- Attended Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, Ill., where he played defensive end and tight end.
- Also lettered in baseball.
- Majored in organizational leadership and supervision at Purdue
- Married to wife, Paige.
USA Today All-Joe TeamEXTRA POINTS
Rob Ninkovich’s journey to the Patriots was not easy. He entered the league as a fifth-round pick of New Orleans in 2006 and was waived four times by New Orleans and Miami before landing in New England on Aug. 2, 2009. He spent the 2009 offseason trying to make the New Orleans team as a long snapper. Before coming to the Patriots he had appeared in just eight games over three years. FORCING THE ISSUE
LB Brandon Spikes forced two fumbles at Buffalo (9/30) and LB Rob Ninkovich forced two fumbles vs. Denver (10/7) to become one of eight Patriots players to record at least two forced fumbles in a single game. Most Forced Fumbles in a game/ Patriots History
|Mike Vrabel (10/28/07 vs. Washington)
|Rob Ninkovich (10/07/12 vs. Denver)
|Brandon Spikes (09/30/12 at Buffalo)
|Adalius Thomas (12/16/07 vs. NY Jets)
|Rosevelt Colvin (09/16/07 vs. San Diego)
|Roman Phifer (11/23/02 vs. Minnesota)
|Tebucky Jones (12/22/01 vs. Miami)
|Ferric Collins (10/20/96 at Indianapolis)