When the Patriots claimed Giants tight end Jake Ballard on waivers earlier this week, plenty of Giants fans cycled quickly through the five phases of grief and landed at a sixth: indifference.
Coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning haven’t quite gotten there yet.
“Obviously, just shocked,” Manning said on ESPN’s SportsCenter this morning regarding his reaction to the news.
He said that Ballard “played a huge role” for the team’s offense, and that Eli believed Ballard “was going to be a big part of this offense” in the future, after recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the Super Bowl.
Manning said he understood how it all happened, with the Giants trying to slide a “non-vested” player through waivers so that he could be put on injured reserve (technically, it’s the reserve/PUP list, since the injury happened before he passed a physical in the current year). And Manning characterized the Patriots’ submission of a waivers claim as “sweep[ing] in and stealing [Ballard] from us.”
That’s precisely what the Pats did. Who knows? Maybe the Pats will offer to trade him back to the Giants in 2013.