Ryan Mallett to start Patriots preseason opener, Jake Ballard retires

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The New England Patriots have confirmed reports that Ryan Mallett will start the teams preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.

Mallett, a fourth year Patriots backup quarterback is heading into the final year of his rookie contract that he signed as a third round pick in 2011.  This is the Patriots chance to increase his trade value, as the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round to be Brady’s future backup.

Brady has sat out previous preseason games. The last time was in 2o11. Brady practiced all week against the Redskins, going 60-of-80 passing in drills, so the team is comfortable with his progress.

Former veteran tight end Jake Ballard is retiring from the NFL.   Ballard, 26, announced his retirement Wednesday after four seasons with the New York GiantsNew England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals.

“Yesterday I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football,” Ballard said in a statement, via ProFootballTalk. “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.”

The Patriots later claimed Ballard off waivers from the Giants but did not play for them. Last season he resurfaced in Arizona appearing in eight games and catching seven passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

Ballard  finishes his NFL career with 45 receptions for 679 yards and six touchdowns.