|Billie Weiss | Getty Images|
A brotherhood like no other.
That is what New England Patriots’ defensive ends Rob Ninkovich and Chris Long have.
They’re the locker buddies, jokesters and self-proclaimed “old dudes” of the team that you can’t predict. One minute they’re answering interview questions seriously and the next they’re busting each other’s chops. They’re even said to be planning a vacation together along with their wives this summer.
Social media is the root cause of this comedic duo’s bond.
“I hooked up with him on Twitter, saying ‘Hey man, welcome to the family,” said Ninkovich, “From the first day of workouts, we just had a great time.”
“We’ve had similar careers in length and productivity. We have a lot in common,” said Long, “Off the field, we’re pretty similar guys, too. I think he’s just fun to be around; it’s fun to have his locker right there. He’ll pick you up any day there’s a lull in energy, and you try to do the same for him.”
Both players have common interests and similarities that helped formed their strong bond. Nink is 32 years old and Long is 31, and both are married with young children. Ninkovich has a two-year-old named Olivia, and Long’s son, Waylon, will turn one in March.
“He’s pretty good with his wit, he’s very witty,” claimed Ninkovich about his teammate, “He can write better than me. When I’m trying to think of something to say, he’ll help me out. If I need to say something to my wife, then maybe I’ll be like, ‘Hey, Chris what’s a good thing to say?'”
“How do I say this?” Long replied mockingly, “So, basically, I dictate his entire life.”
All joking aside, this duo put together very productive and almost similar numbers this season. Ninkovich totaled 32 tackles, four sacks and one forced fumble in 23 games. Long tallied 35 tackles, four sacks and three passes defended in 16 games.
This is Long’s first shot at playing into the postseason, as he spent his first eight seasons in the league with the St. Louis Rams, and he is appreciative to have Ninkovich here to help him.
“He’s older like me, and he’s played here a long time, so he’s helped me understand the intricacies of the scheme and the different things you’re going to be asked to do,” Long said. “Some of them are things you aren’t used to, so having a guy here that has experienced it a long time and is trusted in this building, it helps a lot.”
Some say “football is family,” and when you’ve got togetherness and a brotherhood like Rob Ninkovich and Chris Long, it’s sure to take you a long way.
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