The Minnesota Vikings had been counting on Christian Ballard to be a piece of their defensive line rotation this season. That was until Ballard elected to walk away from the team in August.
Ballard suffered a groin injury in the Vikings’ preseason opener against the Houston Texans and was forced to miss practice time with the injury. Soon after, Ballard told head coach Leslie Frazier he would be leaving the team for personal reasons.
According to Tom Pelissero of the USA Today, Ballard just wasn’t having fun playing football anymore and wanted to focus on his personal life.
“I wasn’t really having a good time playing football. It wasn’t fun for me. It wasn’t a blast for me,” Ballard said.
After telling Frazier he was leaving the team, Ballard moved back to Lawrence, Kan., married his girlfriend and vowed to spend more time with his 2-year old son. He enjoyed the money his football career was bringing but wasn’t happy at the time he was losing working in a career that wasn’t fulfilling.
“I couldn’t sit there and lie to myself for another two years, doing something that wasn’t what I want to do,” Ballard said.
Ballard said he hasn’t ruled out a return to the NFL and is staying in shape. If he wants to play again, the Vikings still own his rights. However, Ballard intends to take time away to determine what he wants to do with the rest of his life.