For those unfamiliar, senior spring takes place during the final semester of a high school or college tenure and it generally aligns with someone’s future already having been decided.
Oh, you know what college you will be going to, or job you will be starting next? Here, stop worrying about school and just go have fun.
That is what Patriots edge defender Rob Ninkovich is experiencing right now: his senior spring.
Ninkovich spoke with the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels about playing in the twilight of his career, and Ninkovich seems ready to have some fun.
“If I never play another snap, my career really has been extraordinary and has gone better than I could have ever imaged. Right now, I’m in bonus time,” Ninkovich said. “I almost feel less stress because I’ve been able to accomplish all the things I needed to accomplish and now, it’s ‘go out, fly around, enjoy my time, have fun, help the younger guys and take it in.’ I know it’ll be over sooner than later.
“Getting out healthy, that’s another big thing. A lot of guys leave not well. I feel like right now, I’m great. I have no issues, no restrictions. I haven’t missed a game in seven years. Right now, I’m excited to get going in the process this year and see where it goes.”
Ninkovich has played in 102 consecutive games and has started 81 straight, both the second longest active streaks for an edge defender in the NFL, behind only the Packers’ Julius Peppers, and he wants to end his career on a healthy note.
Ninkovich was noted this offseason for practicing as a stand-up linebacker, which is a different role for the veteran to master. The team captain is going to help the team wherever he can, even if it means making a position change.
The Patriots have a trio of young edge defenders in Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers, and Rufus Johnson that are looking to take a step forward in 2016 and Ninkovich’s mentorship will play a key role in their development.
It’s always great to see a veteran having fun and helping the team prepare for the future. For Ninkovich’s part, he wants to play at least two more seasons (he wants to play an even number of seasons) and he wants to register at least 8 more sacks over the rest of his career to bring his total to 50. He’s won a Super Bowl and feels like anything else is just gravy.
Speaking of gravy, he’s also apparently forgoing the Tom Brady diet and is indulging on Five Guys burgers and milk shakes.
Check out the rest of the article here. It’s great.