The newest member of the Arizona Cardinals is tight end Jake Ballard, and the former New York Giant is glad to have another chance.
“It’s nice to have an opportunity to part of a team,” the former Ohio State Buckeye said. “I got right in the playbook and started looking over some stuff. It seems like there’s a lot of good guys, and I’m excited to learn the offense and do whatever I can do to help win some games.”
Ballard, who won the Super Bowl with the Giants in 2011, was cut by the New England Patriots at the end of August. The Cardinals felt he could bring something to a tight end group that’s lacked in production this season.
“Jake was in for a workout a couple of weeks ago, we really liked what we saw as far as a veteran player at that position,” head coach Bruce Arians said.
The Cardinals are currently starting Rob Housler, with Jim Dray serving as his backup. The team released rookie tight end D.C. Jefferson in order to make room for Ballard.
Though it was tough to wait, Ballard understood the process and that it sometimes takes a while for a need to pop up.
“They didn’t have a spot for me at that time, [the Cardinals said] they’d let me know in a couple weeks or so,” Ballard added. “I know it’s part of the game, injuries, coming back, everything is a waiting game, so I just kind of took in stride.”
Ballard suffered a torn ACL in that Super Bowl, and he has not played in an NFL regular season game since.
It’s still unsure what Ballard’s role will be, but he’s ready to do whatever the team asks.
“I think it’s looking at what they feel comfortable with letting me do and what I can do the best and what sets me apart I guess,” Ballard said.
Ballard signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2010, and he has 604 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his career.