Rob Ninkovich working with Broncos’ OLBs at practice

Jared Allen isn’t the only retired pass rusher serving as a part-time guest coach with the Denver Broncos this season.

Rob Ninkovich, who started his NFL career under Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints and later won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, was at a Broncos practice session earlier this week.

Payton was asked about Ninkovich after Wednesday’s practice and the coach confirmed that the former pass rusher was helping coach up Denver’s outside linebackers. Payton also expressed regret for cutting Ninkovich early in his career.

“I don’t know that I brought him here to remind us of a good player leaving the building,” Payton joked. “… We didn’t have a really good vision [for him in New Orleans]. What I mean by that is we were an even front team. I don’t know if the defensive coaches saw it the same as the scouts. It was a classic mistake that we didn’t really have a clean vision. … We released Rob. He went to Miami and came back to the Saints a year later.

“He always reminds me —  I had a meeting with him, and I told him I thought he was going to have to be a long snapper to play in this league. Then, the right team, New England  — I think [Bill] Belichick referenced this yesterday when he was talking to the media because it would’ve been this waiver wire. They had a vision. It was clearer than ours. He went on to play.

“He made an all-century team and won two Super Bowls as an outside linebacker. He came in just to spend some time with our OLBs and spend some time with [OLBs coach] Michael Wilhoite and defensive coaches. He’s done media. You hope that over sixty years, there’s only a couple of those, but he’s one that got away, and obviously played well afterwards.”

During his 11-year career in the NFL (including one season with the Saints), Ninkovich totaled 460 tackles (55 for losses), 88 quarterback hits, 46 sacks, 22 pass breakups, 14 fumble recoveries, 12 forced fumbles, five interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.

As a player, Ninkovich was one that got away for Payton. As a potential future coach prospect, perhaps Ninkovich will get his first opportunity under the coach that was the first to cut him in the NFL.

Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire