The Arizona Cardinals’ crowded tight end room just got a little roomier with veteran Jake Ballard announcing his retirement from the NFL Wednesday.
Ballard, who appeared in eight games for the Cardinals last season, released the following statement via ProFootballTalk.com:
“Yesterday I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football,” Ballard said. “I love this game and have put my heart and soul into it for as long as I can remember. 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. It was an honor and a privilege to play for the NY Giants, New England Patriots, and most recently the Arizona Cardinals. I met amazing people from all of my teammates, to opponents, to trainers, to coaches, to owners, and everyone in between. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your fraternity and I wish you all nothing but success.”
Thanks for all the support! The pain was just too much. I had to start thinking about my future! I've been blessed! #ontothenextone
— Jake ballard (@TheJakeBallard) August 6, 2014
The Cardinals placed Ballard on the reserve/retired list. Prior to this announcement he was listed as a first string tight end on the team’s initial depth chart.
Ballard, 26, caught seven passes for 75 yards with two touchdowns last season. In his career, the former Ohio State Buckeye appeared in 22 games, tallying 45 receptions for 679 yards and six touchdowns.
Ballard’s retirement leaves the Cardinals with tight ends John Carlson, Rob Housler, Troy Niklas, Darren Fells and Andre Hardy on the roster.