|The Pats claiming Ballard is causing quite the controversy. (Getty Images)|
When the Giants waived injured tight end Jake Ballard on Tuesday, they certainly didn't expect anyone to claim him. After all, Ballard's probably going to miss all of 2012 after tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl. But the Patriots -- who, as you know, lost that Super Bowl -- snatched him off waivers.
And that prompted a lot of questions as to whether or not the Pats violated any "unwritten" rules of NFL transactions. Bill Belichick, who was asked those questions, scoffed at the notion on Wednesday.
“First of all, there aren't any unwrittens,” Belichick said per the Boston Herald. "I'm sure that you're aware that you can't negotiate a contract with a player while he's under contract. You can't negotiate a contract, release him, then renegotiate another contract with him that was already done in advance. I'm sure the Giants weren't doing that. If a player's on waivers, he's on waivers, ours or anybody else's. I don't know what unwrittens you're talking about."
Naturally, the Giants aren't thrilled about what happened. Not necessarily because of the way it happened, but simply because they lost Ballard, a player they felt was important to the future of the franchise.
" 'Discouraged' is a minor description. Very disappointed," Tom Coughlin said of his reaction to losing Ballard, via the New York Daily News. "I'm not going to have a lot to say about that one -- just the fact that we are disappointed; very disappointed."
Coughlin was also asked about the "unwritten" nature of the Patriots claim and shrugged off that idea just about as quickly as Belichick.
"I don't think there's any question about that part of it," he said. "Whatever the options are based on what the rules are, based on the procedural circumstance, all is fair."
Look, this incident's been blown WAY out of proportion, and likely only because it's a pair of high-profile teams who just played in the Super Bowl, with the team who lost said Super Bowl claiming the player in question.
Ballard's a decent tight end, but he's not some gamechanger, and he's not even going to be available in 2012. Certainly the Giants wanted to keep him for next year, but if he were so important to him, they shouldn't have run the risk of putting him on waivers.
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