Getting to Know…Rob Ninkovich


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The “career transactions” section of Rob Ninkovich’s biography in the Patriots’ media guide is quite lengthy — in all, he’d been cut four times by the Dolphins and Saints, going back and forth between the practice squad and 53-man roster for both teams before arriving in New England during training camp last season.

Ninkovich arrived at Gillette Stadium with little fanfare; in his first three seasons, he had played in a total of eight games, all as a reserve and special teamer. But in his first season with the Patriots, he played in 15 games, primarily on special teams, though he did also see time at linebacker.

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This year he’s taken yet another step forward — he’s collected the first nine starts of his career, and posted a memorable two-interception game in Miami.

Ninkovich often walks through the locker room wearing a gray, faded t-shirt from his alma mater, Illinois’ Lincoln-Way Central High.

First job: I did landscaping in the summer – $7.50 an hour.

First car: It was an ’87 Mustang…it was yellow! It was a good car – it had 230,000 miles. It was for sale three houses down from ours and my dad (Mike) got it for $1,000 maybe, and we put $500 into it to get it to run right.

Favorite meal:
I have a lot of those [laughs]. I’d say my grandmother’s chicken parm – that’s good stuff.

Heavy rotation on my ipod: A lot of country – Craig Morgan, Blake Shelton.

My hero: I’d have to say my father. I look up to my father; he’s a hard worker.

Favorite athlete in another sport: Michael Jordan, being from Chicago. I never got to see him play – it was too expensive.

Pre-game ritual: I try and not thing about playing football, listen to a lot of easy music, classical stuff.

Prized possession: My chain – it’s a St. Christopher medallion. My father wore it in Vietnam and he gave it to me.

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If they made a movie about my life…I’d go with George Clooney (to play him) from 10 years ago. He’s one of the all-time actors. It would be a good story of overcoming all odds. With a country soundtrack.

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