WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – This season marks the third time the Patriots and Saints have worked together during training camp, and few players have a better understanding of both teams than Rob Ninkovich.
The Patriots defensive end was drafted in the fifth round by the Saints back in 2006, and although his time in New Orleans was short, he now finds himself entering his 10th NFL season.
"I can't believe it. It's gone by in a flash. It's a blessing to be able to play 10 years," Ninkovich said after going against the Saints in the first of the teams' joint practices at the Greenbrier.
"Cherish every day and come out here and work hard. Not everybody gets to play 10 years. Just take that as a blessing and try to get better every day."
Ninkovich was asked about his time with the Saints and recalled stories of intense heat and humidity while training in Mississippi, as well as some former teammates. He also felt the trip to West Virginia was a welcome one at this stage of camp.
"It's fun to come out here with guys that I've played with in the past, seeing those guys and having a good relationship there, and competing against another good organization. Both of these organizations have won a lot.
"When you get into the second and third week of training camp this is a good changeup here to go against some different competition. We've been going against the same guys every day. You can kind of ramp up the intensity level going against a different team and different personnel. That always helps you get better."