When defensive tackle Christian Ballard walked away during Minnesota Vikings' training camp this past year, it seemed strange to a lot of people, including myself. He hadn't been injured and appeared to be in line for a bump in playing time in the team's defensive line rotation this year, but he left the team during the pre-season anyway.
After an interview that our old friend Tom Pelissero did with Ballard that for USA Today, it's clear that the former Iowa standout has no intention of coming back to the Vikings. . .or to any other football team.
"I wasn't really having a good time playing football. It wasn't fun for me. It wasn't a blast for me," Ballard told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday, in his first interview since the Vikings put him on the reserve/left squad list Aug. 18.
"Making that much money - that was fun. But money is still a material thing. You can always make money. You can't make that time that you lose with your friends and your loved ones. Time is something that you can never get back."
The article notes that Ballard was arrested and charged with domestic battery in late August (as was his wife, who was deemed a mutual aggressor in the case).
As the article notes, if Ballard does decide to come back, the team owns his rights for another two seasons, but it doesn't sound like that's at the forefront of Ballard's mind at this point. Ballard's retirement/leaving the team was the second surprising loss the Vikings had suffered in two years, with cornerback Asher Allen having announced his retirement prior to the 2012 season.
Whatever Ballard decides to do with the rest of the life, we wish him the best in his future endeavors.