NINKOVICH HAS CALLED IT QUITS
Patriots defensive stalwart Rob Ninkovich capped his 11-year NFL career by announcing his retirement Sunday after the team’s morning practice at Gillette Stadium.
Since joining the Patriots in 2009, Ninkovich had proven to be one of the team’s most durable and dependable players.
A defensive end and linebacker, he was a twotime co-captain and won two Super Bowls with New England.
A fifth-round draft pick by the Saints in 2006, he was waived four times by the Saints and Dolphins before joining the Patriots before the start of the 2009 season — after spending that offseason trying to make the Saints as a long snapper.
Before joining New England, he had appeared in eight games over three seasons.
With New England he missed one game, in 2009, before last season, when he started the campaign with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on the use of performance-enhancing substances. From 2011-15, he started every regularseason game.
Vikings reward Rhodes.
MANKATO, MINN.» The Vikings signed star cornerback Xavier Rhodes to a five-year contract extension.
Rhodes was entering his fifth NFL season on the final year of his rookie contract. Rhodes was picked for his first Pro Bowl in 2016, tallying a career-high five interceptions while regularly assigned to cover the opponent’s best wide receiver.
NFL Media reported Rhodes can make as much as $70 million over the duration of the new deal through the 2022 season.
McDowell in accident.
RENTON, WASH.» Seahawks second-round pick Malik McDowell was involved in a vehicular accident a couple of weeks ago and is at home in Michigan recovering as the team begins training camp.
According to an NFL Network report, McDowell was involved in an ATV accident and suffered a concussion, along with facial injuries.
McDowell said in a Twitter statement his injuries aren’t life-threatening and won’t put his career in jeopardy.
Wheaton in a hospital.
BOURBONNAIS, ILL.» Bears wide receiver Markus Wheaton had an appendectomy Sunday morning and remains hospitalized, coach John Fox told reporters after practice.
Fox did not offer a timetable on Wheaton’s return to the field.
Kaepernick to Ravens?
BALTIMORE» Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said his team still is deciding whether to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick after Joe Flacco’s back injury. Kaepernick has been a free agent since March 1.