Rob Ninkovich was savvy enough to recognize he wasn’t going to make the Saints roster in 2009 as a second-string long snapper.

Ninkovich did have enough conviction in his work ethic to believe he could make a roster when presented with the right opportunity.

That chance obviously came with the Patriots almost immediately after he was cut by the Saints. Now Ninkovich can give the Saints a first-hand show of what they surrendered four years ago as the Pats host his former team Sunday.

Ninkovich isn’t bitter at the Saints though. He actually appreciates his path and has said over and over again he wouldn’t have traded it for an easier route to success which recently included his three-year $13.65 million contract extension.

“For me you can’t take things personal in the NFL” Ninkovich said. “It’s just one of those situations where it wasn’t the right fit for me the right place. It just took me a little bit of time to find a place where I was given the opportunity to play. Again I’m happy that I’m here happy that I was given the chance to come here so everything really works in a way that it’s supposed to be.

“That was my path. That’s where I was supposed to go. That’s where I was supposed to be cut. This is where I was supposed to be at. You can’t go through life having grudges on people for things that happened to you. Just thank them for the opportunity and move on with it.”

The Saints drafted Ninkovich in the fifth round in 2006 and he was the third defensive end on the depth chart before tearing his ACL in the third game of the regular season. He suffered another knee injury during training camp in 2007 and couldn’t make the team. The Dolphins snagged him off waivers and kept him until November 2008 when the Saints re-signed him off the Dolphins practice squad.

In 2009 the Saints informed Ninkovich he would only make the team if he won the long-snapping battle against Jason Kyle. Ninkovich believed special teams coach Greg McMahon wanted to give him the chance to remain on the team in that role because McMahon was familiar with Ninkovich from his coaching days at Illinois.