The Christian Ballard Mystery Is Over
By Adam Carlson
Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Christian Ballard (99) against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The mystery surrounding the absence of Vikings defensive tackle Christian Ballard has finally been solved. Christian Ballard sat down and talked with USA Today about what was going on with him. Here is what he had to say:
"“I wasn’t really having a good time playing football. It wasn’t fun for me. It wasn’t a blast for me. 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.”"
JAN 1, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown (15) drops back to pass while pressured by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Christian Ballard (99) in the second quarter at the Metrodome. The Bears defeated the Vikings 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
The transition away from the NFL hasn’t been smooth sailing for the former Vikings 4th round draft pick in 2011. He was arrested on Thursday on charges of domestic battery after an argument with his wife. After being held for 29 hours, the district attorney decided not to pursue charges. Neither Ballard nor his wife suffered any major injuries. Ballard also had some words to say about that:
"“I can always treat my wife better, treat my son better, be a better brother, be a better son. But I know right now from being out of the NFL that it’s a lot easier to focus on those things because I have time. I’m not wrapped up in this whole other lifestyle. I’m not saying that I left the NFL (and) now everything is just fine. It’s not. There’s still a lot of lot of things I’ve got to work on – obviously – as being a husband and a father.”"
Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier (right) talks with referee Ed Hochuli (left) during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier was one of the few to know what was going on. Ballard had notified his coach that his heart was no longer in the game and he was going to move back to Lawrence, Kansas to spend some time with his family. He then married his girlfriend, Victoria Hallenbeck, at a courthouse wedding on August 30th. He also says he is planning on returning to church after being away from it for almost 4 years. Ballard closed with some more thoughts:
"“I couldn’t sit there and lie to myself for another two years, doing something that wasn’t what I want to do. It made me selfish. It made me complacent. I just thought that I was better than everyone. Don’t get me wrong – there are tons of people who play in the NFL and are strong believers in the Lord and they have a great lifestyle. But for me, it wasn’t really working out. I’m not sitting here saying I’m done forever. I’ve just got to reevaluate what I really want to do with my life and go from there.”"
Ballard is not ruling out a return to the NFL. If he does decide to return to the team, the Vikings own the rights to him for the next two years. But given how his love for the game has diminished, it would be surprising to see him back in a Vikings uniform.