Morning sports update: Rob Ninkovich to Julian Edelman: ‘If you do it again, you can’t come back from that’

"Guys with multiple offenses are automatically out."

Rob Ninkovich
New England Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich looks on during a game against the Baltimore Ravens in 2016. –Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

Diego Fagundez’s 52nd minute penalty kick was not enough for the Revolution in a 2-1 defeat to Minnesota United on Wednesday night. Aly Raisman and more than 140 other survivors of sexual abuse by a former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University were honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs.

Rob Ninkovich to Julian Edelman: ‘If you do it again, you can’t come back from that’

When Rob Ninkovich was handed a four-game suspension in 2016 after testing positive for a banned substance, the Patriots captain and defensive end was “heartbroken” because the incident might call his reputation into question. He said he would never knowingly take an illegal substance and claimed a mislabeled store-bought supplement had caused the positive test.


Now, the retired Patriot has some advice for a former teammate who also believes an innocent mistake led to a four-game suspension. Ninkovich reached out to Julian Edelman when news broke that he had violated the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, telling the receiver he could get past this.

“You have to learn from your mistakes,” the two-time Super Bowl champion told the Boston Herald‘s Karen Guregian. “Whatever supplement you took, if you say it was a mistake, it just can’t happen twice. If you make an honest mistake, and you say ‘I’m sorry,’ they’ll forgive you. But if you do it again, you can’t come back from that. Guys with multiple offenses are automatically out.”

Ninkovich noted that when he was suspended, he made a statement and moved on — spending time with his family and trying to turn the negative into a positive. He advised Edelman to do the same.

“I just said it’s not the end of the world,” Ninkovich said. “Yeah, it sucks. It’s not what you want to deal with at this point in your career. When I was going through it, I had gone through all these emotions of what people were going to think of me, and at the end of the day, the people that love you, and that support you, it doesn’t matter. If you’re playing football, when you’re done playing football, those people will still be there.”


Guregian reports that Ninkovich made a “familiar gesture” towards the people who choose the low points to bad-mouth players.

“But I think Jules, the way he’s made up mentally, the guy is such a competitor, he’ll handle it,” he said.

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