Ninkovich's path to the NFL was not easy. He entered the league as a 2006 fifth round pick of the New Orleans Saints and was waived four times by New Orleans and Miami before landing in New England on Aug. 2, 2009. Before joining the Patriots, he had appeared in eight games over the course of three seasons -- a total he doubled during his first season in New England. He became a starter in 2010.
Ninkovich finished 2012 with a career best eight sacks, including a game-clinching sack in overtime against the New York Jets when he hit Mark Sanchez and forced a fumble which the Patriots recovered in a 29-26 win. For the season, he finished with 61 tackles (6th on the team), 11 quarterback hits to go with his eight sacks, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
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