Dec 29, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Jake Ballard (86) against the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Just when the discussion about the Arizona Cardinals tight end position was heating up in training camp, tight end Jake Ballard helped the situation along a bit on Tuesday when he announced his retirement from the NFL.
Ballard, who was signed by the Cards in 2013, was most likely going to be the number two tight end on the roster. Tight end Darren Fells, who converted from basketball, was thought to have the inside position over third-year tight end Rob Housler. By Ballard retiring, this means barring injury, with the thought the Cards will most likely carry four tight ends, Housler will make the team. Nothing is a given of course but this is the prevailing thought now. John Carlson and Troy Niklas are the other tight ends on the roster.
Ballard had not given any previous indication that he was going to retire. However he cited his lack of a full recovery from his torn ACL a couple of years ago as the reason for hanging it up for good.
So there it is. The pain was just too much. He did a good job of hiding it from the public I can tell you that. There had been no indication that this was coming. It’s a shock only from the standpoint we all thought things were going well. Given the reason though, clearly this was something he struggled with already being almost two weeks into camp. We wish him nothing but the best!