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Jake Ballard: No one’s been through what I’ve been through


Two and a half years ago, Jake Ballard thought he had it made: He had gone from undrafted rookie to the starting tight end on a Giants team that was heading for the Super Bowl. But it’s been all downhill from there.

Ballard suffered a serious knee injury in that Super Bowl in February of 2012, and the Giants put him on waivers that summer. The Patriots then made the surprising decision to claim Ballard off waivers, even though they knew his knee injury wouldn’t allow him to play in the 2012 season. After rehabbing with the Patriots in 2012, Ballard was cut by New England at the end of the preseason in 2013. Ballard spent the next few months out of work, but the Cardinals eventually gave him a chance, and he rewarded them by playing well in limited action at the end of last season.

“I don’t think anybody has been through the trials and tribulations like I have, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows,” Ballard told the Arizona Republic. “It’s been mentally challenging and physically challenging. But it’s definitely been worth it.”

Ballard says that what he wants more than anything is an NFL home that will give him stability. He may have that in Arizona.

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58 Responses to “Jake Ballard: No one’s been through what I’ve been through”
  1. theflyingelvis says: Jun 9, 2014 6:41 AM

    It always sucks to see good players go through major injuries like that. I was hoping he would be able to stick with the Patriots, cuz he was a damn good TE with the Giants. At least he was lucky enough to get paid by the Pats to rehab. Hopefully Gronk has a quicker and more successful rehab than Ballard did. I wish him luck with the Cardinals, when he’s 100% healthy he’s a stud.

  2. starfan79 says: Jun 9, 2014 6:42 AM

    Cry me a river. You get paid to play a game.

  3. schmokes says: Jun 9, 2014 7:08 AM

    Yeah, he’s the first player ever to have a knee injury.

  4. diehardpanther says: Jun 9, 2014 7:19 AM

    So Jake has been mentally challenged for a few years? Maybe Jerry Jones could use this guy!

  5. madtownthrowdown says: Jun 9, 2014 7:20 AM

    Nobody has it worse than he does? Yes yes, you have it so rough. We’re all sorry you have had to endure the NFL.

  6. drewby79 says: Jun 9, 2014 7:33 AM

    starfan79 says:
    Jun 9, 2014 6:42 AM
    Cry me a river. You get paid to play a game.


    Nope, he is getting paid to do a job with a certain set of skills. Why are you angry that it’s a well paying job? It’s only a “game” when you are playing in your backyard or at the park. For him it’s a career and you and your ilk saying it’s only a “game” is disrespectful.

    Hopefully this Jake makes a full recovery and does well.

  7. thefnlimit says: Jun 9, 2014 7:36 AM

    starfan79 says:
    Jun 9, 2014 6:42 AM
    Cry me a river. You get paid to play a game.

    You’re right. A guy trying to live out the childhood dreams of millions should not get any sympathy. Who cares if he has far more ability than you, who cares if he had an unfortunate injury that derailed his dream. He should just give up. When people say stupid things like you it clearly shows that they never had a chance and are filled with jealousy. Your comment is idiotic.

  8. justinstuckrule says: Jun 9, 2014 7:38 AM

    Another disaster for my Giants. Jake Ballard was the heart of a Super Bowl winning offense. He was a leader and inspiration, all class.

    I don’t know what my Giants will do without Jake Ballard, Brandon Myers and Martellus Bennett. There’s no one left at TE for the Giants.

  9. mykpfsu says: Jun 9, 2014 7:43 AM

    I like Ballard and all. But others have been through more.

  10. tinytoolalldrool says: Jun 9, 2014 7:44 AM

    Wow that sucks. Best of luck to him.

  11. grayone77 says: Jun 9, 2014 7:46 AM

    As a father who has lost a baby, and had another clinging to life on life support (after several surgeries he made it) I resent just about everything he said in this story. My son survived prematurity, Necrotizing Enterocolitis, severe brain bleeding, had 1/3 of his lower intestines removed, two near fatal blood clots, and 3 days on life support before a miracle surgeon was able to fix him. He’s 9 months old now. So Mr. Ballard, look at my son, and then try saying nobody’s been through trials and tribulations like you. My son is 10 times tougher than either you or I can ever hope to be

  12. lenbias34pt says: Jun 9, 2014 7:50 AM

    I dislocated my thumb and detached the ligament playing co ed softball.

    I’d say i’ve had it worse than jake.

    I still have to go to work, i had to have surgery and now i can’t tie my shoes or take a shower or do just about any activity without some difficulty.

    and o yea, I HAVE TO GO TO WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. chucknorrissinspiration says: Jun 9, 2014 7:54 AM

    “You don’t know where I’ve been Lou!!!”
    -Tyler Durden

  14. eaglesnoles05 says: Jun 9, 2014 7:56 AM

    Wow…NO ONE has been through that? I didn’t know that.

    I mean, I guess you are right… When you factor in the exact combo of cars driven, teams played for, mail received, meals eaten, people you’ve seen, types/number of coffees at starbucks…… no one has probably done the EXACT same thing you have done for the past few years.

    But if we aren’t being obnoxiously literal, probably some one in the world has had a sports injury and had career ups and downs after it. Probably one other person…

  15. edelmanfanclub says: Jun 9, 2014 7:59 AM

    Thomas Davis ?

  16. ragnarthegreat says: Jun 9, 2014 8:00 AM

    For most of these guys this is the only life they have ever known and someone has always wanted them to be on their team. Then to lose the life you have known and deal with no one wanting you and most people not being willing to even give you a chance is a rough knock. If you don’t believe me ask an out of work auto worker. Good luck Jake. Hope it works out.

  17. dcapettini says: Jun 9, 2014 8:09 AM

    “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen..” Ever heard of Darryl Stingley, Ernie Davis, or Gale Sayers? Poor Jake; poor, poor Jake.

  18. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Jun 9, 2014 8:14 AM

    i’m pretty sure he is the only tight end in history to go from starter to injured and then return with a new team. what a unique story….

  19. mrneto72 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:14 AM

    Not true Jake. I bet you have not been through what I have been through. But good luck in Zona.

  20. vincentvega513 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:18 AM

    Try playing in Oakland. THAT is the lowest of the low.

  21. nonetruerthanblue says: Jun 9, 2014 8:21 AM

    Understand where he’s coming from, but bad choice of words here. Plenty have been through much worse.

  22. eaglesnoles05 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:22 AM

    Marcus Lattimore called… he said “I’ve been through some stuff too.”

  23. eaglesnoles05 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:25 AM

    Just got off the phone with Willis McGahee. He said “NO! I”M the ONLY one who has been through some stuff!”

    Good luck to you Jake, I hope you make a comeback you are a good player and I’m glad you don’t play for the giants anymore. But you aren’t unique in your plight.

  24. roadtrip3500 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:26 AM

    It’s not as if the Giants wanted to get rid of him. They didn’t waive him to cut him. It was a back-door roster move for a long-term injury that other teams usually ignore (because other teams do it for the same reason); the Patriots decided to throw a wrench in it by claiming him. By then pitching Ballard with the trash the following year, it was the Pats who killed his stability. Had the Patriots not gotten involved (for what proved to be no good reason), Ballard was probably the starting TE for the Giants last season.

  25. isphet71 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:26 AM

    No one’s been through exactly what you’ve been through, it’s true. But I hope he’s not implying that what he’s been through is harder than what some other guys tryaing to stick in the NFL have been through.

    McGahee (end of college), Best, Bo Jackson, Theismann, Sterling Sharpe, Darryl Stingley, Mike Utley… those guys all had it way worse.

  26. packerbackernj says: Jun 9, 2014 8:27 AM

    Go talk to players like Irving and Theisman who were actually good and suffered career ending injuries. I’m sure either would have rathers a torn acl.

  27. faccda01 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:28 AM

    Thomas David tore the same ACL three years in a row, and is now playing at a pro bowl level. take that Ballard.

  28. squapity says: Jun 9, 2014 8:35 AM

    It shows a flaw in the intricacies of the free agent/waiver system. If you wonder why players have no team loyalty, blame the league that fosters it.

  29. seabreezes51 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:43 AM

    He probably should do a couple of shifts in a VA hospital.

  30. beauregard says: Jun 9, 2014 8:43 AM

    “I don’t think anybody has been through the trials and tribulations like I have”

    You have got to be kidding me.

  31. ctiggs says: Jun 9, 2014 8:48 AM

    GO Buckeyes!

  32. mancave001 says: Jun 9, 2014 8:58 AM

    Not to diminish what you went through, Jake, but there is always someone who has been through more.

  33. realskipbayless says: Jun 9, 2014 9:00 AM

    I’m sure plenty of players have gone thru the samething. Its def a shame that it happened but to say no one’s gone thru that before is probably a lie. Either way he’s getting paid a lot of money to play football so it can’t be that bad. It’s not like losing a limb or something in a war and then coming home and not being able to get a job.

  34. MostlyRight says: Jun 9, 2014 9:04 AM

    No star TEs on the Cardinals, but Rob Housler was #1 TE for them last year and this year may find himself behind Ballard, John Carlson (another guy Arians picked up who looked to be a stud TE for Seattle and then suffered injuries plus Minn QBs) and new potential stud rookie Troy Niklas. Arians loves the TE (drafted 2 right after Andrew Luck) and if Ballard/Carlson are healthy, Housler continues development and Niklas is what they say he may have quietly put together a solid crew.

  35. floratiotime says: Jun 9, 2014 9:16 AM

    The Giants put him on waivers to get him on the practice squad while he rehab’d his knee. For some dickish reason the Pats grabbed him. Made no sense then … less sense now. But they screwed him up.

  36. chalkruz1989 says: Jun 9, 2014 9:18 AM

    Jake Ballard was a pleasure to watch during the 2011 season and without him, I am not sure if the New York Giants would have had the same success. If you look at Eli Manning’s stats since Ballard’s departure, the void at the TE position has been obvious.

    I hope Ballard gets back to a place where he can be successful and contribute at the level he did in 2011.

  37. 6ball says: Jun 9, 2014 9:26 AM


    Let’s not “word police” the guy. He went from being a key contributor on a Super Bowl winner, to a guy with a sign reading “will block for food”.

    His job description is no longer professional football player. It’s professional rehabber.


  38. bornahawker says: Jun 9, 2014 9:33 AM

    Dudes a beast!
    Go Hawks!

  39. bornahawker says: Jun 9, 2014 9:36 AM

    Keep in mind he is not dumb enough to go get his legs blown off for the fraud you call the American government. Looks like he is smarter than pat Tillman and you

  40. akiraloco says: Jun 9, 2014 9:39 AM

    Hey Jake…can u say Gronkowski?….Broken & infected Forearm having his ACL demolished, and has huge expectations from his team to comeback, having gotten that bic contract and all. So yeah. U had it worse.

  41. akiraloco says: Jun 9, 2014 9:40 AM

    And did i mentioned back surgery?

  42. mdd913 says: Jun 9, 2014 10:09 AM

    My wife nearly died in childbirth from heart failure, 2 months after her father die from liver cancer. 4 months later, I lost my job. Then our house burned down. Then 2 weeks before we moved into the new house, our storage unit burned down with what little furniture and things we had left. Then a month after we moved into the new house, a tornado waltzed right through our backyard and destroyed the garage and took the roof off. Sorry Jake Ballard, I win.

  43. starfan79 says: Jun 9, 2014 10:15 AM

    thefnlimit says:
    Jun 9, 2014 7:36 AM
    starfan79 says:
    Jun 9, 2014 6:42 AM
    Cry me a river. You get paid to play a game.

    You’re right. A guy trying to live out the childhood dreams of millions should not get any sympathy. Who cares if he has far more ability than you, who cares if he had an unfortunate injury that derailed his dream. He should just give up. When people say stupid things like you it clearly shows that they never had a chance and are filled with jealousy. Your comment is idiotic.

    When he says nobody has been through what he has been through he is looking for sympathy. NFL players go through that all the time.. Im not giving sympathy to an athlete who makes NFL money who is having a hard time. I am giving sympathy to soldiers who come home to broken families, loss of limb or anything else that is going to make the rest of their life difficult. So yeah, cry me a river.

  44. Mr. Wright 212 says: Jun 9, 2014 10:32 AM

    One of his OWN TEAMMATES with the Giants has been through worse, and still standing (and not trying to make it seem like he was a POW on two continents or something).

    Terrell Thomas.

    Have a seat Jacob.

  45. purpleguy says: Jun 9, 2014 10:36 AM

    The guy got paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to rehab a knee injury. Sure he has a unique skill set, made the NFL as an undrafted FA, blah, blah, blah — that doesn’t make his myopic and self important comment any less ridiculous.

  46. irishdodger says: Jun 9, 2014 10:41 AM

    Carlson is lucky to be cleared to play after multiple concussions (& probably should’ve retired)…but he’s not complaining. I hope he earns the starter’s role & is a true comeback story.

  47. trollingforjustice says: Jun 9, 2014 10:46 AM

    This is a sports page interviewing an athlete who has spent most of his life in sports.
    We as readers are generally on the other side of his world living the real workaday life. you have to distinguish between the two and not let comments that don’t seem to fit your world bother you.
    Lighten up people or stick to CNN or World News Reporting if you want to be so serious

  48. dublindemonszfl says: Jun 9, 2014 11:10 AM

    Adrian Peterson would have recovered from this injury in about 20 minutes.

  49. FlashPatterson says: Jun 9, 2014 11:29 AM

    Brian Piccolo laughs at your puny knee injury.

  50. milliondollardream2 says: Jun 9, 2014 11:32 AM

    If you want to make “millions” playing football go do it. Oh wait you don’t have the talent.

    Go be a rocket scientist then. Oh wait you don’t have the talent.

    Go be an actor. They make millions. Wait you don’t have the talent.

    Get the point idiots? This isn’t communism. The most talented get the cash.

  51. ravensterpsarmystrong says: Jun 9, 2014 11:44 AM

    That’s funny! I thought this was Jake Ballard from the TV show “Scandal”! LOL! Seriously, there are lots of people who have been through worse. I’d say my former Soldiers and I have been through much worse in combat; we survived and are doing well. So can you!!

  52. Patskrieg dot com says: Jun 9, 2014 11:58 AM

    I’m not in Ballard’s shoes, so I don’t know how much the injury had to do with it. But he was in a prime position to put himself back on the map last year. One star TE on IR the other in prison and Ballard flushed it down the drain. He looked like he wanted nothing to do with blocking or even touching anyone.

  53. granadafan says: Jun 9, 2014 1:17 PM

    I lost my wife, my trailer, my job, my dog, and my truck.

    Every country singer

  54. casurferho says: Jun 9, 2014 1:33 PM

    So many of you take offense to his comment! Many compare to your military experience? There is no draft, so you made a choice to join the armed forces, correct? It’s pretty much a given to suck royally?
    I think Ballard used a wrong choice of words, or exaggerated his circumstances for entertainment value….. But quit taking his choice of words so seriously! We vsve all dealt with horrible things, but your listening to the remarks from a pro athlete who lives a totally different existence than the majority of us…… And he was an undrafted free agent! Not a 1st rounder: he is probably making league minimum unless he signed a huge guaranteed contract I am unaware of ? Some of you need to take a class in toughening!!!! Getting worked up over his comments is silly

  55. woodygg says: Jun 9, 2014 1:42 PM

    Let’s send him to Iraq – IED, ptsd – have him come back, homeless, jobless and living under a bridge… then let’s see how hard he thinks he had it in the NFL…

  56. surfinbird1 says: Jun 9, 2014 1:48 PM

    Tell that to Steven Hawking.

  57. djshnooks says: Jun 9, 2014 2:34 PM

    Some people don’t get it, do they?

    Yes, he gets paid to “play a game.” A game that is entertainment for the rest of us, but a career to him. And that game that he gets paid to play, that is entertainment to us, could severely impact his quality of life, or lack thereof, when he stops entertaining us and playing this “game,” he loves so much.

    He might not be able to walk, talk, or even feed himself when he is 50 or 60 years old.

    He might not be able to have children, when it is all said and done with.

    But, nonetheless…he loves the game, and he loves to entertain us…and that deserves absolutely nothing except respect in my book. He could have given up, and you would be insulting him then too.

    Instead, he has stuck to his dream and is trying to make something of it and get himself back to doing what he loves to do, what supports himself and his family…and you sit there knock him for doing this?

    I just don’t understand that for the life of me. Are you a Giants or Patriots fan and pissed off he didn’t live up to your high expectations? Are you jealous of him?

    I’d think we are all jealous…but that should never make you insult a hard-working and dedicated man, coming back from an injury that he suffered for your entertainment.

    I hope he makes it. I hope he becomes a great TE and gets a huge contract. Ya know why? He deserves it and by then would’ve undoubtedly earned it himself.

    I know I can be a real a-hole sometimes around these parts, and it’s usually just some good old fashioned ball-busting…but I’ll never disrespect a man who’s trying to make his way back from a devastating injury, to earn a living doing what he loves.

    This all applies to the people talking about money too…if you risked your well-being at your job, for the sake of entertaining millions of people…I bet you dollars to donuts, you’d be compensated well too.

    Ok, so now…get off of your high horses, go out there and have an awesome day! 🙂

  58. simonator917 says: Jun 9, 2014 6:34 PM

    Mark Herzlich, an undrafted free agent in 2011 , missed a year during college because he had cancer. I don’t know about you, Jake, but I’d rather get injured while I and my team wins the superbowl, claimed on waivers, and then cut and have to find another team, than have a true life-threatening illness like cancer. Obviously your true illness is AFFLUENZA!

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