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Giants bring back DT Rocky Bernard


The Giants today made a pair of roster moves in advance of their minicamp, bringing back a familiar defensive tackle and waiving their leading 2011 tight end.

Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, who played in every game last season, was re-signed. Jake Ballard, the tight end who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Super Bowl XLVI in February, was waived/failed physical.

Bernard, 33, is entering his 11th NFL season and fourth with the Giants. He joined the team as a free agent in 2009 after seven years with the Seattle Seahawks.

Bernard has played in 148 regular season games with 55 starts and 12 postseason games with eight starts. His career regular season totals include 368 tackles (256 solo), 32.0 sacks, six forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 19 passes defensed. Bernard's postseason totals include 31 tackles (26 solo), 5.0 sacks and three passes defensed.

In 2011, Bernard played in all 16 regular season games with one start and played in all four postseason games. He recorded 30 tackles (15 solo), two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. In the postseason, Bernard contributed eight tackles (6 solo), a sack and a pass defensed,

Bernard had two solo tackles and a forced fumble vs. Seattle on Oct. 9. He made his only start of the season against Miami on Oct. 30 and finished with three tackles (two solo). Bernard posted a season-high six tackles (two solo) vs. Washington on Dec. 18. In the postseason, he sacked quarterback Matt Ryan in the Giants' victory over Atlanta in the NFC Wild Card Game and had two tackles vs. New England in Super Bowl XLVI.

Bernard entered the NFL in 2002 as the Seahawks' fifth-round draft choice from Texas A&M.

Ballard had a breakout year in 2011, his second pro season but the first in which he got meaningful playing time. He played in 14 regular season games with 13 starts and in all four postseason games with three starts. He was inactive for the last two regular season games - at the Jets and vs. Dallas - with a knee injury.

Ballard finished fourth on the team with 38 catches for 604 yards (a15.9-yard avg.) and four touchdowns. He added five catches for 43 yards in the postseason.

On Nov. 6, Ballard had his most memorable performance of the season in a victory at New England. He caught four passes for 67 yards, including a 28-yarder on third-and-10 that set up his game-winning one-yard touchdown reception with 15 seconds remaining.

Ballard caught two passes for 10 yards in the Super Bowl before suffering a torn ACL in the third quarter.

The team's three-day minicamp begins tomorrow, the final offseason event for veteran players before training camp.

The Giants have seven tight ends remaining on their roster – Bear Pascoe, Travis Beckum (who also tore his ACL in the Super Bowl), former Dallas Cowboy Martellus Bennett, fourth-round draft choice Adrien Robinson, Ryan Purvis, Christian Hopkins and Larry Donnell.

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