Ballard, who was waived by the Giants on Monday, thought he had cleared waivers and would be returning to the Giants after the team let him go following a failed physical on Monday. He expected to revert to the Giants' PUP list and ultimately land on injured reserve, where he would spend the season.
There was only one problem: The New England Patriots decided to claim Ballard.
Ballard's agent Blake Baratz tweeted out the news:
As I stated yesterday a "smart" football organization might claim @NYG_J_Ballard85 while he's hurt to own his rights. He's now a Patriot!
- Blake Baratz (@the_ifa) February 14, 2012
The Patriots later confirmed the move via a news release, announcing that they had also placed tight end Brad Herman on injured reserve.
What an insane sequence of events for Ballard. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the Super Bowl, was cut loose by the Giants, was given the impression he'd be coming back, and then ultimately landed with the team he helped beat in the big game.
This will surely frustrate the Giants. They didn't want to lose Ballard, but they took the risk of waiving him. The Patriots decided to improve their team by using the rules to their advantage. They will likely stash Ballard, even if they know he can't help them in 2012.
UPDATE: Ballard released a statement through Baratz later Tuesday, according to The Star-Ledger.
"While this was very sudden, and I am still experiencing a great deal of differing emotions, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you and place some closure on a wonderful chapter in my life," the statement reads. "I will greatly miss my teammates, the fans, the organization, and albeit short-Iived, I will forever cherish all the great memories that we created during my time in a Giant uniform.
"Simultaneously, I am humbled by the opportunity that the Patriots have afforded me and as I have always done, I will bring nothing but hard work, professionalism, and integrity to what is already a world-class organization."