BOSTON (CBS) — Whether it’s “running up the score,” being unfriendly at press conferences or overall just being perceived as a jerk, there are always people out to get Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
So when Belichick claimed injured Giants tight end Jake Ballard off waivers on Tuesday, many were quick to say that Belichick violated an “unwritten rule” that dictates other teams to not claim injured players if the team that waived the player intends on adding him back to the roster once clearing waivers (if that sentence was confusing, that might be why the rules remain “unwritten”).
LISTEN: Belichick On ‘Unwritten Rules‘
However, on Wednesday, Belichick was quick to refute any such notion.
“Well, first of all, there aren’t any unwrittens,” Belichick said. “I’m sure that you’re aware that you can’t negotiate a contract with a player while he’s under contract. You can’t negotiate a contract, release him, then renegotiate a contract with him that was already done in advance. So, I’m sure the Giants weren’t doing that.”
Belichick said that if a player is placed on waivers, he is available, no matter what.
“So if a player’s on waivers, then he’s on waivers — ours or anybody else’s,” he said. “I don’t know what ‘unwrittens’ you’re talking about. … Any time you put a player on waivers, you know that there’s 31 other teams out there that can take him if they want him. We all know that. There’s no secrets about that.”
Ballard was waived on Monday by the Giants, though reports said the Giants intended on placing him on the reserve/physically unable to perform list in order to clear a roster spot. The Patriots’ waiver claim, though, threw a wrench into those possible plans, and the injured tight end is now a Patriot.
Ballard, 24, is recovering from offseason surgeries to prepare a torn ACL and torn cartilage, injuries suffered during the Super Bowl against the Patriots. Earlier last season, Ballard caught the game-winning touchdown for the Giants in New England in early November.