|Matthew Slater, Rob Ninkovich talk about impact of Marathon bombings||04.18.13 at 1:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — During a break in offseason workouts at Gillette Stadium Thursday, Patriots linebacker/defensive end Rob Ninkovich and special teamer Matthew Slater talked extensively about the Marathon bombings on Monday and the impact they have had on the franchise.
Slater watched the events of Monday afternoon, and said he had the chance to address the team later in the week at the suggestion of coach Bill Belichick.
“I just want to let those people out there know, the people that were affected by that event that were injured, or had somebody they knew that was injured or killed or are still battling for their lives or had to witness that traumatic event, that we’re praying for them,” Slater said.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a time where I’ve ever been more proud to be a part of this city, this region, with the way people have responded to that tragedy, and I’m just proud to be associated with the people of New England and the people of Boston.”
Slater said the tragedy was discussed this week in their team meeting.
“There are things in life more important than football, and this is one of those events that puts that in perspective,” Slater said. “I think we take so many things for granted. We expect to wake up, we expect to go about our day and be safe at the end of the day, but every day that we get up, anything can happen. So we need to count our blessings — every night that we get back home safely, that’s a blessing. Every morning that we wake up, that’s a blessing. I think that reminder has been sent through the locker room. We just need to value our friends, family and the time we have here on Earth.”
“Our thoughts and prayers of the team go out to everyone that have been affected by that. It’s just terrible,” Ninkovich said. “I was at home sitting with my wife. Watching it on TV is kind of just surreal — you don’t really think it’s going to happen, especially here in the city of Boston. Unfortunately, that’s just the world that we live in now. We have to deal with the terrible things that happen. Now, we have to support everyone that has been through that. That’s a good thing of being a football player. We can help people and do things to lift the spirits of those that have been affected.
“It’s unfortunate,” he added. “It’s scary, really, that those things happen in this world today. You can’t really put it into words, the way that affects people because, again, as a football player, you’re at an event where there’s a lot of people. You’ve got to put your trust in the security and the people around you that are doing their jobs in a stadium setting to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Several members of the Patriots have pledged financial support to provide relief for victims, including Vince Wilfork, Danny Amendola and Devin McCourty. Meanwhile, Slater and Ninkovich — who did not grow up in New England, but have made it their home since being acquired by the Patriots — marveled at the strength of the community in the wake of the disaster.
“I’ve been here five years now. You know the community of Boston is a tight community, and you know how the fans are about their teams,” Ninkovich said. “You go to a city where everyone’s so together, the love for one another, it’s kinda hard to put it … You feel it. When you’re in the stadium, you feel everyone’s around you in support. So when something so unfortunate happens to the city, it’s everyone’s nature to come together as a whole and have support for one another. As a team, we’re here to support and help the people that have been through this tragedy.”
“It just shows you what kind of city we have,” said Slater. “There are some strong people here.”
|Rob Ninkovich: Super Bowl wins don’t affect current roster||01.21.13 at 7:20 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Rob Ninkovich didn’t mince any words when it came to discussing the Patriots’ legacy of Super Bowl titles and how it affects the current roster.
“That whole era is over with. It’s gone,” said Ninkovich of the team that won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX. “So this is a whole new team. It’s a different bunch of guys. We all have to experience it and learn for ourselves what it’s like. Getting in the Super Bowl last year and losing left a bad taste in my mouth.
“I would have liked to get back this year, but that wasn’t the way it happened. You take all the lessons in life and learn from them, and put your best foot forward the next year.”
Ninkovich and the Patriots suffered a 28-13 loss to the Ravens in Sunday’s AFC title game at Gillette Stadium. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Rob Ninkovich on M&M: ‘It hurts’ going out this way||at 12:05 pm ET|
Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich and offensive lineman Logan Mankins stopped by for visits with Mut & Merloni on Monday morning to discuss Sunday night’s 28-13 loss to the Ravens in the AFC championship game.
“You put in a lot of effort and time to get to where we were last night. It hurts,” Ninkovich said. “All you can really do is try to learn from it. We’ve got a lot of young guys on defense. They got a lot of great experience throughout the season, through the highs and lows of a football year. I think we’re just going to get better from it, really. I think our future’s definitely bright.
“You’ve got to give the Ravens credit for the way they were able to play us. I think they played us the best way they could.”
Said Mankins: “Overall, we didn’t execute good enough and didn’t score any points [in the second half]. That’s what happens. You don’t score, you don’t win. … You’ve just got to take your hat off to those guys. We expected to win and we didn’t. They played a heck of a game, and we didn’t play a good one.”
Most of the focus is on the New England offense’s missed first-half opportunities to build a bigger lead and its inability to score after the break, but Ninkovich is more focused on the defense giving up 16 points after the break.
“That first half, defensively we did a good job of kind of shutting down the run game,” he said. “They really weren’t able to get anything moving on us. But at the end of the day, it’s up to us to hold them to seven points. If they score seven at the half, we should have done our best to keep them from scoring again.
“We definitely missed out on a couple of opportunities for turnovers — a missed interception, [Jerod] Mayo had a great strip on the sideline there, the ball bounced out of bounds; any other game it would have bounced back in and somebody would have jumped on it. That’s the way football is. You’ve got to deal with it. Sometimes it rolls the other way.”
|Rob Ninkovich ‘still trying to fill the shoes’ of Mike Vrabel||01.17.13 at 10:03 pm ET|
FOXBORO — From the moment he took the number 50 with the Patriots, the comparisons began for Rob Ninkovich.
How does Ninkovich stack up to Mike Vrabel?
Ninkovich began his career in New England in 2009, the year Vrabel was traded to Kansas City.
Ninkovich was asked Thursday if he’s ever met Vrabel, who is now an assistant coach at his alma mater, Ohio State.
“No, never have, never met him, never talked to him, maybe one day,” Ninkovich said Thursday. “I’m sure he’ll probably give me some crap for taking his number.”
“I mean his whole career, the performance that he’s had his whole career, kind of speaks for itself. So just to even have the comparison, it’s an honor. But you know, different football players. You know obviously there’s … I think he was like four inches taller than me, his arms were way longer, so he has the advantage there.”
Actually two inches, as Vrabel stands 6-foot-4 and Ninkovich 6-2. But Ninkovich has more than stood tall this season with five forced fumbles and four recoveries.
Has Bill Belichick ever shown Ninkovich any tape of Mike Vrabel?
“Well, growing up, I’m a little bit younger than him so I always watched the Patriots and watched their successful seasons in the past when I wasn’t a part of the team,” Ninkovich said. “So, definitely, still trying to fill the shoes.”
After all the comparisons were only natural. He is a versatile outside linebacker who was converted to an edge pass rusher, who can not only get to the quarterback but also force fumbles and always find a way to jump on a loose ball on the field.
He did it again last Sunday in the final five minutes when the Texans appeared to be on the verge of converting an on-side kick, trailing 38-28. Ninkovich recovers the bouncing ball, crisis averted and Patriots seal the deal, 41-28.
“As a defensive player you’re always thinking that the ball is a key,” Ninkovich said. “You’re looking at the ball on the snap, you’re trying to find the ball in pursuit. When people are around the ball making plays you’re always aware where it’s at. You know if it’s fumbled or if it’s on the ground you have to get on it. Let everyone else decide what’s going on as long as you get the ball, it will all work itself out. As a defensive player, that’s in your mind all the time is being prepared to get on top of it.”
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots. WEEI-FM 93.7 will broadcast the AFC championship game between the Patriots and Ravens on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
|Rob Gronkowski, Rob Ninkovich active for Patriots||01.13.13 at 3:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — There were no major surprises on the Patriots inactives list released 90 minutes before their divisional playoff game with the Texans.
WR Kamar Aiken, DB Derrick Martin, DB Malcolm Williams, OL Nick McDonald, OL Markus Zusevics, TE Daniel Fells and rookie DE Jake Bequette comprise the list of seven players who will not be playing as part of the 46-man roster. This is just the fourth time this season Fells has been inactive and the first time since Week 11 against the Colts.
The Patriots took 15 of 20 players off their injury report on Friday while listing five others as probable. Four of the five, including Rob Gronkowski, Alfonzo Dennard and Marquice Cole are active for the game.
Likewise for the Texans, there were no surprises as OL Cody White, CB Stanford Routt, OL Antoine Caldwell, CB Roc Carmichael, NT Terrell McClain, LB Cameron Collins and OL Andrew Gardner were declared inactive.
For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots.
|Pats remove 15 from injury report including Rob Ninkovich, Rob Gronkowski ‘probable’||01.11.13 at 4:43 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In a sign they should be close to full strength for Sunday’s AFC divisional game against the Texans at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots removed 15 of their 20 players from the injury report on Friday, including linebacker Rob Ninkovich (hip). The five remaining players are all probable, including Rob Gronkowski, Alfonzo Dennard, Trevor Scott, Marquice Cole and Nick McDonald.
The Patriots listed 20 players as officially “limited” on Wednesday and Thursday before revising their list after practice on Friday. The Patriots practiced in sweats and shells all week long in preparation for the Texans, who list 15 players – all “probable” on their Friday injury report. Notable names on Houston’s list include TE Owen Daniels (shoulder), TE Garrett Graham (concussion), OLB Brooks Reed (groin) and CB Johnathan Joseph (illness).
Here is Friday’s complete report:
TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm/hip) Probable
DB Marquice Cole (finger) Probable
CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee) Probable
OL Nick McDonald (shoulder) Probable
DE Trevor Scott (knee) Probable
For more, visit the Patriots page at weei.com/patriots.
|Third straight day of perfect attendance for Pats practice||at 12:15 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For a third straight day, the Patriots had perfect attendance Friday at their practice in sweats and shells inside Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots have listed 20 players as limited in their first two practices this week, including linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who injured his left hip in the season finale against the Dolphins.
The Patriots will have a walkthrough on Saturday before taking on the Houston Texans in an AFC divisional contest Sunday afternoon at 4:30 at Gillette Stadium.
For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots.
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