Rob Ninkovich, an 11-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl champion, joined ESPN as an NFL analyst in July 2019. Ninkovich regularly contributes across ESPN’s studio coverage including Get Up, First Take, NFL Live and SportsCenter as well as on ESPN Radio and more.
As a player, Ninkovich primarily played defensive end and outside linebacker. His most successful years as a pro were in his eight seasons (2009-16) with the New England Patriots. He started 16 of 17 postseason games for the Patriots and contributed to two championships – Super Bowls XLIX and LI. He recovered an NFL-best 14 fumbles over the course of the 2010-16 seasons, and he recorded eight sacks three years in a row – the first Patriots player to do so since Hall of Famer Andre Tippett. He served as co-captain in 2013 and 2015.
Prior to joining the Patriots, Ninkovich played for the New Orleans Saints (2006, 2008) and the Miami Dolphins (2007-08). A fifth–round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Ninkovich played in a total of 131 regular-season NFL games over the course of his career.
Born and raised in Illinois, Ninkovich spent the first half of his collegiate career at Joliet Junior College – winning a NJCAA national championship. He transferred to Purdue University for his junior year where he tied for the team lead and ranked second in the Big Ten with eight sacks. As a senior, Ninkovich earned second-team All-Big Ten honors and was named Purdue’s Most Valuable Player after recording 48 tackles, eight sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.
Following his NFL retirement in July 2017, Ninkovich served as an analyst for WBZ-TV (CBS Boston) during four Patriots preseason games in 2018. He also previously appeared as a guest analyst on ESPN shows on multiple occasions.
Away from the field, Ninkovich summited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2019 with his former Patriots teammate Chris Long and the Waterboys as part of the organization’s ongoing effort to raise funding for wells and clean water in Africa.