Tight end Jake Ballard has opted to end his playing career, announcing his retirement today. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk passes along Ballard’s statement, in which he says it was an honor to spend time with the Giants, Patriots, and Cardinals.
“I love this game and have put my heart and soul into it for as long as I can remember,” Ballard said. “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.”
Prior to sustaining that ACL injury, Ballard had his best season as a pro in 2011, compiling 604 receiving yards on 38 receptions and scoring four touchdowns. The 26-year-old had re-signed with the Cardinals this offseason, so Arizona will open up a roster spot now that Ballard is heading toward retirement.