Jake Ballard, who was claimed by the New England Patriots on Tuesday, reacted to his abrupt change of teams, as reported via ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Twitter.
In his statement, Ballard's shock is illustrated quite clearly.
It's likely the New York Giants had a high level of confidence in their ability to retain the talented youngster. That confidence was also likely instilled in Ballard by the team, but Bill Belichick and the Patriots surprised both parties by entering the equation with a waiver wire claim.
"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. I will greatly miss my teammates, the fans, the organization, and albeit short-lived, I will forever cherish all the great memories that we created during my time in a Giant uniform."
Just last week, Ballard and his former New York teammates traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Obama and cap off their February Super Bowl win.
Fast forward a few days, and Ballard's rights for the next two seasons are now owned by the team he helped to defeat in the championship game.
"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. Sincerely, Jake Ballard."
As Shefter outlines in a recent post on ESPNBoston.com, the move to nab Ballard is with an eye toward the future.
"Basically, this is a move designed for the 2013 season," Schefter says. "They claimed Jake Ballard, who the Giants thought would not be able to play this year. So basically, the Patriots take on his contract and will pay him this year $540,000. They will have his rights for next season at $630,000. So they are going to be getting two seasons of Jake Ballard —of which he is only expected to play one—for about $1.17 million."
But as Mike Rodak points out, the Patriots will have to account for Ballard on their 90-man roster. And there also exists an opportunity for the Giants to re-acquire the promising talent they spent two years developing.
"If the Patriots want to clear Ballard off their 90-man roster prior to roster cut-downs, he would have to first be either waived/injured or waived/failed physical, which would expose him to waivers and a likely re-claim by the Giants."
So in order to retain his rights New England will have to identify just how valuable he can be since he'll be taking up a roster slot all the way up until final cut downs.
He now finds himself likely to be placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list for both training camp and the first six weeks of the regular season. From there it gets a bit hazy, as no one quite knows if the Patriots have plans to try and utilize the 24-year-old late in 2012.
Belichick was asked to comment on the politics and unwritten rules of the situation on Wednesday and responded candidly as always, per ESPNBoston.com
"First of all, there aren't any [unwritten rules]. ... You can't negotiate a contract, release him, and then re-negotiate another contract with him that was already done in advance. I'm sure the Giants weren't doing that. So the player is on waivers, he's on waivers—ours or anybody else's. I don't know what unwrittens you're talking about. ... Any time you put a player on waivers, you know there are 31 teams out there that can take him if they want him. We all know that. There is no secrets about that."
The head coach also briefly detailed the team's interest in Ballard saying, "He obviously had a real productive year last year, and we'll just see how all that goes. We haven't seen him yet."
For more on New England's motivation and on Ballard's high ceiling, check out my piece from Tuesday. And please feel free to join the discussion in the comments section.