Following the release of Shawn Crable and with Derrick Burgess considering retirement, fifth-year veteran Rob Ninkovich is seizing the opportunity to see practice time with the top unit at outside linebacker.
Here are a few quick hits on Ninkovich:
1. 26 years old; a native of Blue Island, Illinois.
2. Attended Joliet Junior College, where he worked for his father as an ironworker before his sophomore season.
3. Played defensive end for Purdue University for two seasons, recording eight sacks and earning Second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors as a senior.
4. Selected by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.
5. Began the 2009 season attempting to make the New Orleans Saints’ roster as a long snapper; was waived at the start of training camp and claimed by the Patriots.
6. Has also spent time with the Miami Dolphins.
7. Appeared in 15 games for the Patriots in 2009, mainly on special teams.