Arizona Cardinals TE Jake Ballard announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday.
“Yesterday I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football,” Ballard said in a statement, via Pro Football Talk. “I love this game and have put my heart and soul into it for as long as I can remember. After sustaining a serious knee injury while playing for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, my body never felt the same. Having a quality of life after football is very important to me and I have witnessed it taken away from others. I will miss the game tremendously, but I am ready for this next chapter in my life. It was an honor and a privilege to play for the NY Giants, New England Patriots, and most recently the Arizona Cardinals. I met amazing people from all of my teammates, to opponents, to trainers, to coaches, to owners, and everyone in between. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your fraternity and I wish you all nothing but success.”
Ballard, 26, signed a one-year contract worth $795,000 with the Cardinals back in March, but there is no question that his prior knee injury impacted his ability to perform at a high level in recent years.
Over the course of four years in the NFL, Ballard recorded 45 receptions for 679 yards receiving and six touchdowns.