With the regular season coming up, there are players that are working harder to get off the injury list and play the first game of the teams season. One guy that will not be playing game one of the season is New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich.
Ninkovich has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He is currently injured with a torn tricep.
In 16 games last season, Ninkovich recorded 52 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Ninkovich played a role in the Patriots success last season, making big plays when the team needed them, going after and getting pressure on the quarterback.
This news is not what the Patriots want to hear right now, as he was going to start week one vs. the Arizona Cardinals. With the news that he is suspended, there is a going to be a hole that will be to be filled during the first four weeks.
It is better that the team is losing him for the start of the season, and not in the middle of the season when they will be closer to the playoffs when they will need him the most.
On Ninkovich’s side of things, he used something that violated league policy to heal up his injury faster, and now he has to pay the price. During the suspension, he will have a chance to heal up and make sure he is ready to make an impact at one hundred percent. This will also hurt his reputation a little bit as well.
The Patriots defense has a mix of good young talent with solid experience veterans on it as well, so someone will step up during his suspension. Look for someone like Trey Flowers, who is a young talent, to step up during the suspension.
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