NINKOVICH HAS CALLED IT QUITS

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - — The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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