The New York Giants today shattered the quiet of a peaceful summer day right before the start of their mini-camp by waiving tight end Jake Ballard (failed physical) and re-signing veteran defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.
Ballard caught 38 passes in 14 regular-season games for the Giants last season, his first as a full-time player. He averaged 15.9 yards per catch. Ballard missed the final two regular-season games with a knee injury, then tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots. He caught two passes for 10 yards in that game.
Ballard apparently failed the physical players were required to take on Monday prior to the opening of mini-camp.
Bernard, 33, is entering his 11th NFL season and fourth with the Giants. He joined the team as a free agent in 2009 after seven years with the Seattle Seahawks.
In 2011, Bernard played in all 16 regular season games with one start and played in all four postseason games. He recorded 30 tackles (15 solo), two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. In the postseason, Bernard contributed eight tackles (6 solo), a sack and a pass defensed.
The Giants still have seven tight ends on their roster -- Bear Pascoe, Travis Beckum (who also tore his ACL in the Super Bowl), former Dallas Cowboy Martellus Bennett, fourth-round draft choice Adrien Robinson, Ryan Purvis, Christian Hopkins and Larry Donnell.
The only thing I can take from this is that Ballard's knee injury, for which he had both surgery to repair the torn ACL and micro-fracture surgery, must be worse than previously known. No way the Giants waive him if they felt there was a chance he would play in 2012. ESPN speculates that the Giants might bring Ballard back after he clears waivers. We just have to wait and see on that one, but this does come as a surprise.