Rob Ninkovich joins ESPN as an NFL analyst

The former Patriots linebacker has transitioned into a media career.

Rob Ninkovich
Rob Ninkovich announcing his retirement from playing football in 2017. –Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich is joining ESPN as an NFL analyst. The 35-year-old, who helped New England win two Super Bowls, is slated to make regular appearances on NFL Live and SportsCenter, according to an ESPN announcement.

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to work for ESPN,” Ninkovich said in an ESPN press release. “I look forward to sharing my knowledge of the game and expressing my passion for football in the next chapter of my professional career.”

With Patriots training camp set to begin on Thursday, Ninkovich will make his ESPN debut on Saturday in a SportsCenter special live from New England.


Since retiring from football in 2017, Ninkovich has transitioned into sports media. He worked as a sideline reporter for WBZ-TV during the 2018 preseason, and co-hosted an NBC Sports Boston podcast. He also made guest appearances on ESPN in May.

As a player, Ninkovich was selected in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Saints. After a stint with the Dolphins, he signed with the Patriots in 2009. Within a year, he’d become a starting linebacker and a fixture in Bill Belichick’s defense.

In Super Bowl XLIX, Ninkovich made a key 4th-quarter sack of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on a third down with the Patriots trailing by 10 points. It halted Seattle’s drive and got the ball back to Tom Brady, who started New England’s comeback.

Ninkovich’s final NFL game was Super Bowl LI, when the Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit to win in overtime, 34-28.