Former Patriots tight end Jake Ballard has retired from the NFL. He released a statement on Wednesday explaining his decision.
“Yesterday I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football,” Ballard said in a statement. “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 spent the 2012 season with the Patriots after he was claimed off waivers from the Giants, who had hoped to sneak Ballard onto their injured reserve list without anyone claiming him.
After sitting out for the entirety of that season, Ballard attempted to come back during last year's training camp but was still noticeably hampered by his knee.
The Patriots released Ballard before the start of the 2013 regular season and was later picked up by Arizona. He played in eight games for the Cardinals and started in three, making seven catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns.