Ballard broke onto the scene with a solid year for the Giants two years ago, hauling in 38 catches for 604 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games and looked to have a future in the team's offense, but he tore his ACL during Super Bowl XLVI, which required surgery to repair it and lead to the Giants placing him on waivers during the offseason with the intention of putting him on injured reserve, but that plan backfired when the New England Patriots claimed him off waivers in June of 2012.
Ballard was on the Patriots during the 2012 season, but didn't play a single snap for the team, as he was recovering from surgery, but had hopes of playing this season, especially with Rob Gronkowski's injury troubles and Aaron Hernandez being released after getting charged with murder. Ballard had his shot to impress the Patriots this summer to get on the team, but instead, was released this weekend in the team's roster cuts to get down to 53 players.
The tight end went unclaimed off waivers and is now a free agent and may sign with whomever he likes, which brings the Giants back into the picture. The Giants, allegedly, never wanted to let Ballard go to begin with and always were agitated that the Patriots made the move to take Ballard from them. If Ballard's knee can get stronger and if he can pass a physical, a reunion with the team makes sense due to a few lingering concerns.
The first is Adrien Robinson and the foot injury he suffered in the final preseason game against the Patriots this past Thursday. If Robinson's injury is one that lingers on into the season and if it doesn't allow him to get onto the field for the Giants, then the Giants need to find a suitable replacement, which is where Ballard makes sense.
The other is Bear Pascoe. And while he isn't injured, Henry Hynoski was injured for most of the summer recovering from surgery on his knee to repair his MCL. If Hynoski suffers any setbacks during the season by re-injuring the same knee, the next move the Giants will make in the offense it putting Pascoe in for Hynoski, which would open up a spot at tight end, which again, Ballard would fit in.
Larry Donnell also made the team too and is listed as the team's fourth tight end, but he is unproven with the exception of playing in a handful of games during the summer and the Giants likely will be using him more in special teams situations. The starting tight end in the offense will be Brandon Myers and while Ballard isn't going to be cutting into his playing time, Ballard, if healthy, could give the Giants a two-tight end look in the offense that might be hard for defenses to stop; similar to what the Patriots had with Gronkowski and Hernandez for a couple of seasons.
Bringing back Ballard isn't a move that the Giants will make for Week 1 and maybe not even for Week 2. but if for some reason any of the possible scenarios pop up and the Giants are scrambling for a player to sign, Ballard's might be a name that Jerry Reese might want to consider.
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