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Rob Ninkovich on M&M: ‘I really wanted to stick around and win games’

09.23.13 at 11:44 am ET

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich, fresh off agreeing to a three-year contract extension worth a reported $15 million, joined Mut & Merloni a day after Sunday’s 23-3 rout of the Buccaneers.

“I’m happy to be here, happy to stick around,” he said. “The Kraft family and my family worked out to where it worked well for both sides. I’m happy to be here for the next four years now.”

Added Ninkovich: “I knew that I wanted to be here. This is the place that I was given an opportunity. I really respected that, because if it wasn’t for the opportunity that was given here, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I don’t know, I really don’t know.

“Given that, I really wanted to stick around and win games and be on a winning team. That goes a long way as well. You can go search for money and all that stuff, but if you’re losing every week, you’d be pretty miserable. I want to be here, I want to win and I want to help the team and just continue to be a good football player and be reliable.”

The defense continued to shine Sunday, holding the Buccaneers to a single field goal.

“When you can keep an NFL offense out of the end zone and hold them to three points, that’s a great feeling,” Ninkovich said. “I think that we’re still improving, we’re going to improve throughout this year. I say it all the time: Teams now are not going to be the same team later in the season. You have to improve, you have to constantly be improving to where towards the end of the year you’re firing on all cylinders going into the playoffs. So I think that right now we continue to improve. There’s always things we need to work on. Holding a team to three points, that’s a great feeling.”

Asked if this defense is better than last year’s, Ninkovich said: “Yeah, I think we are. This group of guys has been together for a while now, so our communication is at a great level right now. We’re all on the same page, knowing each other’s role and knowing that the guy next to me is doing his job. It’s a confidence thing. And I think that that’s what we’re doing now. We’re just playing really well [as a] confident, together group. I’m happy we’ve been able to constantly improve.”

The Patriots’ first three opponents are not highly regarded, but Ninkovich said he doesn’t discount any NFL team.

“Every team in the NFL is talented. This is a league full of the guys that are the best of the best at what they do,” he said. “Anytime you can go out there and get a win in the NFL, it’s a great feeling. I don’t like to look at who we’re playing and whatever. We won. So we’re 3-0. Moving forward, we’ve got to prepare for the Falcons because it’s going to be a good game down there, which is going to be tough in a dome, it’s real loud. We’ve just got to keep going, keep chugging along and keep winning games.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

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