Rob Ninkovich was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on August 2, 2009 ... Originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2006 draft ... Waived by New Orleans (9/6/07) ... Claimed off waivers by Miami on (9/7/07) ... Waived by Miami on (9/31/08) ... Signed to the Miami practice squad on (9/3/08) ... signed by Miami to the 53-man roster from the practice squad (11/15/08) ... Waived by Miami on (11/21/08) ... Signed to the Miami practice squad on (11/22/08) ... Signed by New Orleans from the Miami practice squad (12/3/08) ... Waived by New Orleans (7/30/09).CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
- Recorded the franchese's second-longest fumble return when he returned a Chargers fumble 63 yards(10/24/10)
- Converted from defensive line to linebacker when he entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick of the Saints in 2006.
2012 (16/16, 2/2)
- Moved from linebacker to defensive end and starts on the left side.
- Tallied eight tackles and 2.0 sacks in the AFC Championship vs. Baltimore (1/20).
- Compiled four tackles and an interception that the Patriots converted into a touchdown in the AFC Divisional Playoff win vs. Houston (1/13).
- 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.
- Had five tackles and his career-high and team leading eighth sack of the season vs. San Francisco (12/16).
- Tallied five tackles and his seventh sack of the season in the win over Houston (12/10).
- Made his first start of the season at right end in place of an injured Chandler Jones at Miami (12/2) and finished with three tackles in the win.
- Had two tackles and recovered a fourth-quarter fumble that led to a touchdown in the win at N.Y. Jets (11/22).
- 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).
- Made three tackles and registered at least a share of a sack in his third straight game vs. Buffalo (11/11).
- 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 seal the game.
- Accumulated three tackles and recovered a second-quarter fumble that led to a field goal at Seattle (10/14).
- Became second player in as many weeks 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.
- Started and made five tackles, including a strip sack of Ryan Fitzgerald for five yards in the win at Buffalo (9/30).
- Started and collected five tackles including his first sack of the season vs. Arizona (9/16).
- Started at defensive end as part of a unit that limited Tennessee to just 20 yards on 16 carries in the season-opening win at the Titans (9/9).
2011 (16/16, 3/3)
- 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 agianst the N.Y. Jets (11/13) with five tackles and two second-half intercpetions, 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 oustide 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.
- 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.
- 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.