Bill Belichick was able to exact a little bit of revenge on the New York Giants for their Super Bowl victory, on Tuesday. But the move left a sour taste in the mouth of Giants head coach Tom Coughlin on Wednesday afternoon.
The Patriots claimed recently jettisoned Giants tight end Jake Balled off waivers on Tuesday, after the Giants let go of the injured tight end. Ballard is coming off offseason ACL and microfracture surgery, an injury that he suffered during the Giants 21-17 Super Bowl win. He is unlikely to be available for any part of the upcoming 2012-13 season.
A clearly irritated Coughlin expressed his displeasure with Belichick's maneuver, though. A move that has been considered a breach of the NFL's "unwritten rules," after practice on Wednesday.
"Discouraged is a minor description," Coughlin said of the situation. "Very disappointed."
Ballard was very productive for the Giants during the 2011-12 season, catching 38 passes and scoring four touchdowns in 14 regular season games. The tight end had become a very reliable target for quarterback Eli Manning throughout the season, and had done an excellent job replacing Kevin Boss in the Giants offense.
Belichick saw that sort of value in Ballard and decided to jump on the opportunity, refuting any claims of wrongdoing with the signing.
"There aren't any unwritten [rules]," Belichick said. "Any time you put a player on waivers, you know there are 31 teams out there that can take him if they want him. We all know that. There's no secrets about that."
Coughlin was undoubtedly disappointed by the signing, but he did recognize that the Patriots didn't actually break any rules in the process.
"I don't think there's any question about that part of it," Coughlin said. "Whatever the options are based on what the rules are, based on the procedural circumstance, all is fair."
Coughlin knew he would likely be without Ballard for the 2012 season, but apparently the two-time Super Bowl champ at least expected to have a chance at re-signing the productive pass catcher once healthy.