When the New York Giants celebrated their 21-17 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, there was one Giants player who couldn’t join in the merry making. So instead of being a high point, the end of that game marked one of the toughest challenges of former Buckeye Jake Ballard’s career.
“I don’t think anybody has been through the trials and tribulations like I have, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows,” Ballard told azcentral.com.
He had caught 2 passes for 10 yards, before tearing his ACL with about 7 minutes left to go in the game. As the clock wound down, he was in the company of team doctors who were yelling at him to stop hopping around, or else risk damaging his knee further.
He couldn’t take part in the Lombardi Trophy ceremony, was placed on injured reserve, then claimed off waivers by–of all teams–the Patriots.
That led to one really awkward encounter with New England quarterback Tom Brady as Brady was receiving his AFC Championship ring, a nice piece of jewelry that he surely would have traded for the Super Bowl ring Ballard was sporting.
“It was the last day of minicamp…So I have another buddy, (former Ohio State linebacker) Bobby Carpenter…and Bobby is like, ‘Hey Ballard, why don’t you show Brady the real ring?’ I’m like, ‘Bobby, it’s my first day here. I’m not trying to make enemies.’ And Tom kind of half smiles, looks at me and says, ‘Too soon, Bob.’ “
Ballard is now healthy and playing for the Arizona Cardinals. To read more about how he likes his new home, as well as see video of Ballard discussing the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry, click here.