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Arizona Cardinals tight end Jake Ballard announces retirement

It makes the tight end fight a little more interesting.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There was a surprise on Wednesday when Pro Football Talk reported that Arizona Cardinals tight end Jake Ballard made the decision to retire from the the NFL.

The decision comes just a day after he missed practice with a sore knee. Ballard signed with the Cardinals late last season after finally recovering from a torn ACL he suffered.

Here is what Ballard said in a statement:

"Yesterday I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football," Ballard said in a statement. "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. 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. It was an honor and a privilege to play for the NY Giants, New England Patriots, and most recently the Arizona Cardinals. I met amazing people from all of my teammates, to opponents, to trainers, to coaches, to owners, and everyone in between. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your fraternity and I wish you all nothing but success."

The Cards announced he was moved to the reserve/retired list to open his roster spot. They now have an open spot to sign a player.

The interesting thing is that Ballard was projected to be a starter. This opens the door for Darren Fells, who has begun to open some eyes of the coaching staff. For the moment, Rob Housler will now move up as the starting tight end opposite John Carlson. Troy Niklas will be number three and Fells will now be number four.

There may be moves that happen later and the preseason will determine how things shake out, but it appears that both Housler and Fells now have a spot on the team.