“Yesterday I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football,” Ballard said in a statement via Pro Football Talk. “I love this game and have put my heart and soul into it for as long as I can remember. After sustaining a serious knee injury while playing for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, my body never felt the same. Having a quality of life after football is very important to me and I have witnessed it taken away from others. I will miss the game tremendously, but I am ready for this next chapter in my life. It was an honor and a privilege to play for the NY Giants, New England Patriots, and most recently the Arizona Cardinals. I met amazing people from all of my teammates, to opponents, to trainers, to coaches, to owners, and everyone in between. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your fraternity and I wish you all nothing but success.”
Ballard, who originally signed with the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2010, suffered a serious ACL tear late in Super Bowl XLVI. The injury was potentially made worse when Ballard attempted to run on the sidelines, holding out hope that he could return to the game, only to have his knee buckle before collapsing onto the turf.
The following year, the Giants attempted to place Ballard on Injured Reserve (IR), but had to make him subject to waivers first. It was at that point the New England Patriots made the shocking decision to "steal" him from the Giants, claiming him off of waivers on June 12th, 2012.
In New England, Ballard was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list where he'd spend the duration of the 2012 season before being released the following year (August 2013).
A few months after his release from the Patriots, Ballard signed with the Arizona Cardinals and subsequently returned to the football field for the first time since Super Bowl XLVI. He would go on to play in eight games for the Cardinals, hauling in seven receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
In 2011 with the Giants, Ballard caught 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns. He would later receive a Super Bowl ring for his efforts.
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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Chris Snee, David Wilson, Football, Jake Ballard, New England, New England Patriots, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Super Bowl XLVI