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Jake Ballard taking part in OTAs for Patriots

Jake Ballard AP

The Patriots are without their two best-known tight ends during drills at this week’s set of organized team activities, but they do have one long-absent member of the position group back at work.

Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com reports that Jake Ballard was on the field with his teammates during Tuesday’s practice, the first time he’s been on the practice field with media in attendance since the Patriots claimed him off of waivers from the Giants last June. Ballard tore his ACL and suffered extensive other damage to his knee in the second half of the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI victory over the Pats.

Per Yates, Ballard spent some time doing resistance running with a strength coach but was able to “participate in the majority of practice reps” during the session. The Patriots expect Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez back for training camp and the season, but Ballard will give them good insurance should one or both miss time.

Ballard isn’t likely to replicate their numbers, but he became a frequent and reliable target for Eli Manning on the way to that Super Bowl title. He caught 38 passes for 604 yards while also doing his part as a run blocker. Should he be back to full health, Ballard has a chance to be a useful piece for the Patriots offense even if everyone’s healthy.

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15 Responses to “Jake Ballard taking part in OTAs for Patriots”
  1. 4thquartermagic says: May 21, 2013 2:55 PM

    Wondered what happened to this dude last season.

    Hope he went to see AP’s knee doc for the surgery.

    If he did, you can pencil him in for 110 catches, 13 tds, and 10 pancake blocks.

  2. dg0122 says: May 21, 2013 3:00 PM

    How is he insurance for Gronk and a target for Eli???

  3. Patskrieg dot com says: May 21, 2013 3:01 PM

    And now comes the long awaited moment where we see if Belichick had a plan for Ballard all along, or if he was just giving the finger to Tom Coughlin.

  4. ampats says: May 21, 2013 3:01 PM

    Correction: Aaron Hernandez was present on the field for OTA’s but did not participate in drills.

  5. ttommytom says: May 21, 2013 3:17 PM

    90 man roster and Reese tries to slip this guy past the League.

    No one is perfect but still a blunder…

  6. thraiderskin says: May 21, 2013 3:20 PM

    I’m not sure how many Pats fans have seen him this year, but I would be interested to know how he looks physically (weight and size). I’m a Buckeye fan and always thought Ballard would have been better off not as “big.”

  7. 6ball says: May 21, 2013 3:41 PM

    .

    The guy makes plays.

    .

  8. jdphx says: May 21, 2013 3:41 PM

    Tip of the hat to NE here… Ballard can play.

  9. travishise says: May 21, 2013 3:51 PM

    And yet Aaron Hernandez was at OTAs today. Given he had limited work, just like Ballard, but he was still there. When its come to the Patriots and their players injuries this offseason, the writers have been wrong 90% of the time. First, Gronk could miss week 1 with his surgeries. Now he’s on track to be available at training camp. First, Aaron could miss minicamp and training camp. He’s at OTAs. Can we please check our sources?

  10. MP says: May 21, 2013 4:37 PM

    How do you get that many tight-ends on the field at once..

  11. harrisonhits2 says: May 21, 2013 4:52 PM

    dg0122 says:

    How is he insurance for Gronk and a target for Eli???
    ______________________

    Have a reading comprehension problem do you ?

    If everybody gets healthy the Pats can run some monster 3 TE sets.

  12. jimjets says: May 21, 2013 4:55 PM

    I think they should just field a team entriely made up of tight ends….and then all get diabetes

  13. andrewproughcfe says: May 21, 2013 7:55 PM

    Coughlin got 2 Super Bowls.

    Belicheat got a banged-up Jake Ballard.

    Seems like a win-win to me!

  14. bighurt228 says: May 22, 2013 5:33 AM

    Welcome back Jake !! Good luck and Go Pats!!

  15. aljack88 says: May 23, 2013 8:25 PM

    andrewproughcfe says:
    May 21, 2013 7:55 PM
    Coughlin got 2 Super Bowls.

    Belicheat got a banged-up Jake Ballard.

    Seems like a win-win to me!
    ———————————————————–

    If Coughlin goes 9-7 and no playoffs again this season (without Ballard), the NY media and so called Giants’ fans will be calling for his head to fall.

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