Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Rob Ninkovich is still working out aggressively, still not completely ruling out return to Patriots

Ryan Hannable
September 08, 2017 - 10:59 am

Could Rob Ninkovich come out of retirement to help the Patriots defense?

The defensive end, who announced his retirement a few days into training camp, isn't completely ruling it out.

The day after saying he hasn't shut the door on returning, Ninkovich said he's been working out and appears to still be in football shape.

“I am working out to stay in shape," he said Thursday before the game on CSNNE. "… I’ve always worked out hard, so you can’t go work out and — what am I going to do? Go jump on a bicycle and that’s it? It’s in me to have a good workout. That is just what you do as a football player. I am enjoying the freedom of doing whatever I want right now.”

The former outside linebacker/defensive end did say he would be watching the game with a keen eye, especially at the edge position. 

“Right now, I am just enjoying the time that I have," he said. "I think tonight I am going to watch the game and we’ll see the questions we all have on the front and how they are going to role players and which roles certain guys are going to play and how productive are they going to be in those roles. Right now, I am a fan. I was in the parking lot and had a beer. I am having a good time.”

Based on the performance of the defense, the most points in the Bill Belichick era, maybe the Patriots really do need him.

Although the Patriots and Ninkovich haven't had any contact about a return yet, that could change in the near future.

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