Tempe, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Just over two years after starting in a Super Bowl, Jake Ballard has retired from football.
The former New York Giant and current Arizona Cardinals tight end announced his decision Wednesday, citing continued complications from a knee injury he suffered in the Giants' 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI back in February of 2012.
Ballard was claimed off waivers by the Patriots from New York a few months after that Super Bowl, but spent the entire 2012 campaign rehabbing the torn ACL. He returned to action with the Cardinals last season but was limited to just eight games, catching seven passes for 75 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns.
"[Tuesday] I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football," Ballard said in a statement released to Profootballtalk.com. "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."
Ballard started 13 regular-season contests during New York's 2011 championship run, recording 38 receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns.