Originally written on AFC East Daily  |  Last updated 11/18/14
BY NICK ST. DENISEven before Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder and while Rob Gronkowski was in the midst of recovering from his fourth surgery in less than a year, Jake Ballard was a potential impact player for the New England Patriots' tight end-friendly offense.After being signed by the Patriots last year, the former New York Giant spent all of last season recovering from a knee injury he acquired at the end of the team's 2011 campaign, but he's been on schedule for a return to the field at a time when his new team could use the help. (photo: Mike Morbeck, Flickr)Since the beginning of this offseason, word surrounding Ballard has been mixed.Ballard, who caught 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns with Big Blue in 2011, was thought of as a serviceable stopgap for a team that used to boast the league's best TE tandem. However, he was described by reporters earlier this week as "slogging" and "rigid" during his practice time with the team.The Patriots put Ballard on the ...
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