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Cardinals TE Jake Ballard announces retirement

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona Cardinals tight end Jake Ballard announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ballard traced his decision to the severe knee injury he sustained playing for the New York Giants in the 2012 Super Bowl.

''My body never felt the same,'' he said. ''Having a quality of life after football is very important to me and I have witnessed it taken away from others. I will miss the game tremendously, but I am ready for this next chapter in my life.''

Ballard was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Ohio State in 2010. In the Giants' 2011 Super Bowl season, he started 13 regular season games, catching 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns. Ballard played in all four of New York's postseason games that season, three as a starter.

He was signed by New England in 2012, but missed the entire season because of the knee injury.

Ballard signed with the Cardinals in November of last year. He appeared in eight games for Arizona, three as a starter. He caught seven passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinals.

Ballard was in a crowded competition at tight end for Arizona. His retirement leaves the team with free agent signee John Carlson, returnee Rob Housler, rookie second-round draft pick Troy Niklas and Darren Fells, a former college basketball player who spent his rookie season a year ago on the Cardinals' practice squad.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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