FOXBOROUGH — Rob Ninkovich explained Sunday why he chose to retire in July as opposed to sometime earlier in the offseason.
The edge defender, who was occasionally coy over the offseason about his plans, said that while he was hoping to bounce back after last year’s Super Bowl, the annual recovery process wasn’t happening as quick as it had in the past. That got him to thinking.
“Well, an NFL season is very taxing on your body,” Ninkovich said. “I’m 33 years old, and going through usually there is a progression — OK, you’re working up towards the season and get to the season and your body is getting broke down. Then, after the season, you’re trying to heal up a little bit and you’re trying to build back up for another year. When you’re trying to build back up, when you’re younger, I feel like you can build back up and you’re OK, and feel OK.
“I was trying to build back up and I just felt like I wasn’t where I needed to be what I am and what I feel like I should be for my teammates, fans and everyone who loves me as a football player,” he added.
For Ninkovich, there was a come-to-Jesus moment this summer.
“I was honest with myself. You have to be honest with yourself,” he said. “I feel like athletes, unfortunately sometimes, they get away from that because they don’t want to believe what they’re telling themselves. I knew that my time was probably close, and just training made it clear for me.
“When you go squat and you’re sore for a week, it’s not a good thing.”
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