Jake Ballard's first quarter touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks is...

Jake Ballard's first quarter touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks is confirmed by the official. (Oct. 9, 2011) Credit: David Pokress

So why is Jake Ballard no longer a Giant?

"Don't ask me those questions," Tom Coughlin said in his news conference Wednesday, the emphasis on "me" a sign he was not entirely on board with the personnel decision made by the front office. "I don't have the answers for you there . . . It's obvious that it was a calculated risk and it didn't work."

Up the ladder we go.

"I could explain it, but I don't want to explain it," general manager Jerry Reese said, at just about the same time Coughlin was speaking, in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "Because it's really irrelevant at this point."

Clearly the Giants were caught off guard when Ballard, the injured tight end who was waived on Monday with the intention of bringing him back the next day but not having him count against the 90-man roster, was claimed by the Patriots.

"Disappointed, very disappointed," Coughlin said of the loss.

The Giants believed Ballard would return to them, continue his rehab, and be ready to contribute in 2013. "The whole building felt that way, everyone did," Coughlin said.

Ballard was not expected to play in 2012 anyway, so the Giants aren't losing much in terms of football preparations. Their sense of loss stems more from personal relationships with Ballard and from being blindsided by another team.

That it was the Patriots who swiped Ballard only adds to the Giants' indigestion over the incident.

"You hope he's not being used to spite the Giants," offensive lineman and Ballard friend Jim Cordle said.

Up in Foxborough, Bill Belichick was asked if claiming an injured player violated any unwritten rules.

"I don't know what unwrittens you're talking about," 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 is no secret about that."

Belichick even went so far as to put the onus of sportsmanship on the Giants, not the Patriots, for trying to manipulate the waiver rules and 90-man roster.

"You can't negotiate a contract, release him, and then renegotiate another contract with him that was already done in advance," he said. "I'm sure the Giants weren't doing that. So if the player is on waivers, he's on waivers -- ours or anybody else's."

Coughlin agreed.

"All is fair," he said.

"There's no reason for us to have hard feelings about it," Reese said. "When you put a guy on the wire, he's free game for anybody. There are no hard feelings for us. They think that they can salvage the situation, so we will see what happens."

Notes & quotes: TE Travis Beckum, who tore his ACL in the Super Bowl, began running on Tuesday and said he did so without pain. He said he still hopes to return by the start of the regular season . . . DE Osi Umenyiora, who sat out most of Tuesday's practice with soreness, participated Wednesday . . . WR Ramses Barden made several impressive catches in Wednesday's practice.

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