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Giants waive TE Jake Ballard; he believes he will return

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Ballard quietly had an impressive 2011 season. (Getty Images)

Tight end Jake Ballard, who was an integral part of the Giants' championship run last season before he tore his ACL in the Super Bowl, was waived on Monday after he failed a physical. Ballard was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2010. He didn't contribute as a rookie, but last season he started 13 games, had receptions for 604 and scored four touchdowns.

In additional to the traditional statistics, last season, Ballard also graded out well in the advanced metrics of Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus. The former ranked Ballard sixth in total value among all NFL tight ends; the latter had him second to Rob Gronkowski in points-per-touch, a measure of what a tight end does with passes thrown in his direction.

So what does the future hold for Ballard? ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk thinks the tight end could ultimately return to the Giants.

And Ballard feels similarly:

The Giants have done well finding competent, young tight ends and with seven still on the roster (Bear Pascoe, Travis Beckum, Martellus Bennett, Adrien Robinson, Ryan Purvis, Christian Hopkins, Larry Donnell) perhaps they felt comfortable parting ways with Ballard, even temporarily. (As PFT.com's Michael David Smith points out, the seriousness of Ballard's injury is underscored by his tweet suggesting a return to "a Giants uniform in '13.")

For now, the highlight of Ballard's NFL career will be his four-catch, 67-yard effort during the Giants' comeback win over the Patriots on November 6. That final drive included a 28-yard reception on third-and-10 that set up the decisive touchdown.

In other personnel news, the Giants re-signed 33-year-old defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.
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