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Pats linebacker Rob Ninkovich announces retirement

Rob Ninkovich is going out on a high note.

The Super Bowl champion announced his retirement today after 11 seasons. Ninkovich has been discussing his possible retirement with head coach Bill Belichick for some time.

Ninkovich, 33, signed with the New England Patriots as a rather anonymous figure in 2009 after stints with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins. Since then, he's been in the thick of it.

Ninkovich never made a Pro Bowl, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more consistent, reliable player during his run in New England.

For his career, Ninkovich earned 460 tackles, 46 sacks, and 88 QB Hits in 131 games (101 starts). Since 2010, Ninkovich is one of two players in NFL with 400-plus tackles and 40-plus sacks, per NFL Research. Ninkovich: 420 tackles, 45.0 sacks; Calais Campbell: 425 tackles, 49.5 sacks.

Ninkovich retires with the fifth-most sacks in Patriots history, behind only Andre Tippett (100), Willie McGinest (78), Chris Slade (51), and Mike Vrabel (48).

In 2016, Ninkovich had 31 tackles, earned four sacks -- which was tied for third most on the Patriots -- and five QB hits in 12 games. He also walked away with the second Lombardi Trophy of his career.

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