" Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich picks up a fumble against the Denver Broncos in 2011. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
BOSTON (CBS) – When he first came to the New England Patriots in 2009, Rob Ninkovich was the 53rd man on the roster.
The then-linebacker had played sparingly for New Orleans and Miami over his first two pro seasons, and was looking for a new home following his second release by the Saints. With just seven NFL games under his belt, Bill Belichick came calling, and Ninkovich was eager to make the most of what could have been his last opportunity in the pro football.
Now, four-plus seasons later, Ninkovich is a key cog on the Patriots defense, making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks off the line and falling on footballs at an alarming rate. He just signed a three-year extension with New England last week, just another sign that he has in fact made it in his journey to play professional football.
“For me to think about where I was to where I am now, it’s pretty awesome,” Ninkovich told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton in an interview that will air on Sunday’s Patriots GameDay "
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