Rob Ninkovich is already enjoying retired life it seems. This weekend, he took a trip back to his hometown, and while it's only been a since he officially retired from the game, the celebrations aren't quite over.
During a visit to his hometown of New Lennox, Ill., the former Patriot was given a hero's welcome. According to the Chicago Tribune, the town celebrated Rob Ninkovich Day on Aug. 13 with a parade and ceremony, where Rob spoke and received a key to the city.
Mayor Tim Baldermann welcomed Rob on the stage, and he addressed a crowd that came out to support a local kid who made it big. Many who attended the day's festivities were young athletes and football players, and Rob spoke to them about the importance of chasing their dreams.
"You have so much in front of you, and it goes so quick. Take advantage of every opportunity. I'm not saying that everyone out here is going to be a professional athlete, but if you direct your passion and your God-given talents and you maximize everything that God gave you, you'll be successful in life," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's football, baseball, basketball, a business, entrepreneurship, a lawyer or doctor. If you go after what you want to do with everything you've got, you're going to be a better person for it."
Mayor Baldermann said this type of encouragement, as well as his success in the NFL, has made Rob a perfect role model for kids in New Lennox.
"It's about coming together in the spirit of the community. It's about giving back. Rob has not forgotten where he came from," he said.