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Tom Coughlin Isn’t Happy About Losing Jake Ballard

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 6:   Jake Ballard #85 of the New York Giants scores against the defense of  Tracy White #58 of the New England Patriots in the second half on November 6, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

To bring you up to speed: Tight end Jake Ballard badly injured his knee in the Super Bowl and almost certainly won't be able to play in 2012. The Giants placed him on waivers, expecting he'd clear them, which would have allowed them to re-sign him and place him on their physically unable to perform list, which in turn would have ultimately allowed them to place him on injured reserve without him counting against their 90-man roster. But Ballard didn't clear waivers: He was claimed by the Patriots, who will pay him $540,000 this season while he rehabs, but because Ballard will be an exclusive-rights free agent after the season, New England can also retain his rights for 2013 as long as they make him a qualifying offer.

Tom Coughlin isn't happy about the way this played out. When asked by reporters today if he was discouraged, he said that "Discouraged is a minor description." Added the coach: "I don't have a lot to say about that. Just the fact that we're disappointed. Very disappointed."

The Giants, of course, could have handled this differently, but Coughlin didn't want to answer questions about why they took a chance and placed Ballard on waivers. Via USA Today:

Asked why the team didn't just keep Ballard, who caught 38 balls for 604 yards and four TDs last year, on the 90-man roster, Coughlin barked, "Don't ask me those questions. I don't have the answers for you."

Jerry Reese, according to reports, wasn't available for comment, though as the News notes, it's unlikely Reese would have taken the risk of waiving Ballard without consulting with the coach. Bill Belichick, however, did chime in on whether the Patriots violated some sort of unwritten rule by claiming Ballard. "First of all, there aren’t any unwrittens," said the New England coach. He's right, of course: Once Ballard was exposed to waivers, he's fair game, and the Patriots are certainly within their rights to claim him. In the words of Coughlin: "It's obvious it was a calculated risk, and it didn't work."

Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images