Former New York Giants and New England Patriots TE Jake Ballard was unable to make the Patriots roster out of training camp this year, and he has shown us just how difficult it is to return from microfracture surgery. Ballard has received just one known workout since his release, and that was from the Baltimore Ravens. Now, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that Jake Ballard is getting ready to sign with a team later this week after working out with trainers to get himself back to full strength. It sure has been a tough road for the 25-year-old Ohio State product, but Florio states that there has been interested in Ballard from teams.
In 2011 (his only season with significant playing time), Ballard caught 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns, and he was pretty good in the seam. Ballard has a reputation for being a solid blocker, but I’ll be honest in saying that I haven’t seen consistently good blocking out of him. That said, he is young and has shown enough flashes to make me think that he can be a productive blocker.
He’ll probably need to be that kind of a TE, too, because that kind of a severe knee injury can really sap out a player’s cutting ability. Words like “rigid” were used to describe Ballard in training camp, and it was painfully obvious that his knee completely hindered him from being effective. That’s why the Patriots had to cut ties with him, and that’s why Ballard rejected all overtures in order to work his tail off to get to 100% health. Hopefully he’s there, because he’s a solid TE in this league and could help out several teams.
I know the Kansas City Chiefs have dealt with enough injuries at TE this year (season-enders to the perennially injured Tony Moeaki and intriguing rookie Travis Kelce), but I think they are a legitimate possibility.