Well, so much for Jake Ballard returning to the New York Giants at a later date and likely spending the 2012 season on injured reserve while rehabbing from a serious knee injury. The tight end was reportedly claimed today by the New England Patriots.
Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News called the claim by the Patriots a "big surprise," and that would be right on the money.
The Patriots have star tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and will now have to pay Ballard for not playing in 2012. Ballard was, of course, injured in the Giants Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. Vacchiano reported that the Patriots will have to pay the $540,000 Ballard is owed for 2012.
Ballard tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and had micro-fracture surgery.
The assumption seems to have been that no one would claim a player who was unlikely to play in 2012, which would have allowed the Giants to re-sign Ballard and place him on IR. The Patriots, though, ruined that idea.