"Yesterday I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football. I love this game and have put my heart and soul into it for as long as I can remember. After sustaining a serious knee injury while playing for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, my body never felt the same."
Former Buckeye tight end Jake Ballard has made what I'm sure was a tough decision, in electing to retire from the NFL. Ballard started 13 regular-season games and three postseason games for the 2011 version of the New York Giants before he tore an ACL during New York's Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots.
In 2012, the Giants waived Ballard, hoping to slide him through to injured reserve. The Patriots claimed Ballard on waivers. The Patriots would eventually release Ballard, and he then appeared in eight games for the Cardinals last season, with three starts.
This pretty much sucks, as Ballard seemed as if he were ready to return to form this season, but I can't blame him for wanting to keep his body in one piece after all of the punishment it has taken during his career. Buckeye fans will forever have Ballard locked somewhere in their minds for his drive-saving third down conversion catch against Oregon in the 2009-2010 Rose Bowl game.
As you can conveniently watch above this sentence, Kirk Herbstreit has a one-on-one sitdown with Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller. Miller, a senior heading into his final year as a Buckeye, discusses his shoulder injury and what happened with the surgery as well as delving into some explanations of his tattoos.
You also get a good look at Braxton's son, Landon Miller, the next in line at Ohio State (?). Herbstreit, of course, brings up the ever important game against Michigan. It will be Miller's last time taking the field in the 'Shoe and you'd better believe he's already looking forward to it. I know I am. The last great senior quarterback to finish his season at home against Ohio State's biggest rival was none other than Troy Smith, who has been high on Miller since his freshman year.
"QB - Braxton Miller TE - Jeff Heuerman DT - Michael Bennett"
The folks over at 247Sports have put together a preseason All-Big Ten team that has only players playing their true positions. For example, for offensive linemen, you won't find five offensive tackles filling all of the slots. I actually like that idea for making an all-conference team. Three Buckeyes were honored in this list, including Braxton Miller, Jeff Heuerman, and Michael Bennett.
Some other notable players include Stefon Diggs (Maryland) as one of the wide receivers, Jake Ryan at linebacker (Michigan), Mike Sadler (Michigan State) at punter, and Venric Mark (Northwestern) at punt returner. I thought Cameron Johnston might have had a good chance at landing the punter position, but there's no questioning Mike Sadler's success at Michigan State. He's currently sixth all-time in Spartans history for career average in yards per punt (42.4, in this case).
"The toughest opening opponent that we've ever had since I've been here, my 17 years," he said. "Great players, one of the best players in the country in Braxton Miller and arguably one of the best college football coaches to ever coach in Urban Meyer."
Ken Niumatalolo (say that three times fast) had plenty of good things to say about Ohio State during Navy's media days. The August 30 matchup will give the Midshipmen a second chance at pulling off a would-be mind-blowing upset against the Buckeyes, who narrowly escaped in 2009 when linebacker Brian Rolle intercepted a pass on a two-point conversion and housed it for two points and to seal the victory over Navy, 31-27.
Of course, these are different teams and Ohio State has a different head coach. Niumatalolo was still coaching the Midshipmen back in 2009, and was totally in-sync with then quarterback Ricky Dobbs. They proved to be a real threat on that day, and will look to do the same with a different group this season.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Chris Pratt has taken over the Internet with his rapping of Forgot About Dre.
- A man buys 23 Burger King apple pies to spite a small child, because when does whining get what you want?
- Ohio school board president won't seek re-election, apparently.
- Everything is right in the world if Adam Dunn is pitching in a baseball game. Or horribly wrong, whatever works.