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Bill Belichick on Jake Ballard claim: No unwritten rules

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin didn't want to talk about losing tight end Jake Ballard on waivers to the New England Patriots.

"Don't ask me those questions," Coughlin said when asked why the Giants didn't keep Ballard on their 90-man roster until August instead of risking losing him on waivers Wednesday. "I don't have the answers for you."

It's a topic the media had to bring up. Ballard is unlikely to play in 2012 because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but the Giants could have stashed him on the roster until August to retain his rights. At that point, they could have placed him on injured reserve. But they wanted the roster spot and didn't believe any team would claim him.

Coughlin admitted, via the New York Daily News, that he was "very disappointed" to lose Ballard and that placing him on waivers was a "calculated risk."

Giants fans shouldn't blow this out of proportion. Ballard is a role player who's coming off a major injury. As my friend, Bob Glauber of Newsday, pointed out, he's not exactly Mark Bavaro in 1986.

Still, it does appear the Giants miscalculated this risk, and now Ballard is a Patriot. Patriots coach Bill Belichick blanched at the notion of an unwritten rule or that he did anything wrong.

"If a player's on waivers, he's on waivers," Belichick said Wednesday. "Ours or anybody else's. I don't know what 'unwrittens' you're talking about. Look, anytime you put a player on waivers, you know there's 31 teams that can take him. We all know that, there's no secrets about that."

On this, even Coughlin agrees.

"That's the nature of the business," Coughlin said.

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