- Last Updated: 10:33 AM, June 12, 2012
- Posted: 1:13 AM, June 12, 2012
The Giants did not turn their backs yesterday on Jake Ballard when they waived him after he failed his physical, but they did establish what was suspected for quite some time: Ballard will not play for the Giants, or anyone else, this season.
Experiencing a slow rehabilitation from a devastating knee injury suffered in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVI, Ballard knew his chances of playing in 2012 were remote. He is expected to clear waivers, and when he does he automatically reverts to the Giants’ physically unable to perform/reserve list, making it official that he won’t play this season while also allowing the Giants to retain his rights without him counting on their roster. The hope is the 24-year old tight end will be able to return in 2013.
“I’m on the road to recovery,’’ Ballard wrote on his Twitter account, “and I believe I’ll be in a Giants uniform in ’13.’’
To fill Ballard’s spot on the roster, veteran defensive tackle Rocky Bernard was re-signed. The moves come the day before the Giants gather for a three-day mandatory mini-camp, the final chapter in the offseason program until the July 26 reporting date for training camp at the University at Albany.
“With a lot of the young guys, a lot has been thrown at them these last three weeks,’’ said Eli Manning at Mount Kisco Country Club, where he was hosting the Guiding Eyes for the Blind 35th annual Golf Classic. “Mini-camp is one last time to kind of start from the get-go, review a lot, they got one more time to hear everything introduced so they can really start to understand our offense and learn what we’re trying to doBe good to kind of throw it all at them one more time for a few days, give ’em a little break then come back for training camp and kind of start all over, at least they’ll have some sort of idea what we’re trying to do.’’
Ballard after a breakthrough 2011 season experienced extreme highs and lows in one day back on Feb. 5 when the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Ballard caught two passes in the game, but in the third quarter went down and out, suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament and also damage to the meniscus cartilage. Ballard needed not only reconstructive surgery to repair the ACL but also microfracture surgery to repair the cartilage.
The 24-year old Ballard, undrafted out of Ohio State, replaced Kevin Boss last season as the starting tight end and turned into one of the Giants’ most pleasant surprises. He started 13 games and finished fourth on the team with 38 receptions for 604 yards — a gaudy 15.9-yard average — and four touchdowns. He had five catches for 43 yards in the postseason.
Bernard, 33, is entering his 11th NFL season and fourth with the Giants. He played in every game this past season and finished with 30 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Bernard’s place on the roster was seemingly going to be filled by another veteran defensive tackle, Shaun Rogers, but Rogers has been sidelined with an elbow injury and hasn’t participated in any OTA workouts.Follow @NYPostsports