FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (NEWS CENTER) - Patriots' defensive end Rob Ninkovich announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday.

The eleven year veteran spoke in front of media at a scheduled press conference, announcing his retirement as well as expressing his thanks to the New England organization and fans.

"It wasn't an easy decision."

Ninkovich began his career with the New Orleans Saints, and called his release from the Saints a "blessing" for how it allowed him to begin his career with the Pats.

Citing his many injuries, most of which struck early on in his years in the NFL, Ninkovich admitted the struggles he faced both mentally and physically when coming back from injuries. He suffered many injuries throughout his career, but says his ACL/MCL tear his rookie season was one of the most damaging.

"I won't miss ice tubs and being sore for a week".

While his career on the field has come to an end, Ninkovich said he is looking to make a splash in the media part of the NFL, and hinted towards an interest in broadcasting.

The defensive leader also stated his wishes to continue with the Patriots specifically. When asked if he would mentor the other defenders, Ninkovich responded that he would like to work one-on-one with his former teammates. Living near the Patriots' stadium, the former player is looking forward to the upcoming season.

Despite his seemingly sudden retirement, there are no hard feelings between Ninkovich and the Patriots.

"It's been a blessing to come here and play as long as I have"