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Updated: September 17th, 2013 8:43pm
Christian Ballard was no longer 'having a good time playing football'

Christian Ballard was no longer 'having a good time playing football'

by Judd Zulgad
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Wondering what happened to Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Christian Ballard?

We now have the answer.

Ballard, 24, who abruptly left the Vikings during training camp and was placed on the reserve/left squad list on Aug. 18, decided he no longer wanted to be in the NFL and is now living in his hometown of Lawrence, Kan.

Former 1500 ESPN senior editor and host Tom Pelissero, who is now with USA Today, spoke with Ballard about the decision.

"I wasn't really having a good time playing football," Ballard told the paper. "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."

Ballard was a fourth-round pick of the Vikings in 2011 out of Iowa and appeared in every game during his first two seasons. But during camp, Ballard told coach Leslie Frazier that he was leaving the team and then married his girlfriend, Victoria Hallenbeck, in late August.

USA Today reported that on Thursday Ballard and his wife were arrested for domestic battery after an argument at their apartment. Ballard spent 29 hours in jail. However, the district attorney decided not to press charges against either person because neither had any physical injuries and they both were considered to be aggressors.

Ballard is staying in shape, according to Pelissero's story, and has not ruled out a potential return to the NFL. The Vikings will own his rights for the next two years. Ballard received a signing bonus of $407,552 from the Vikings and had made $840,000 over the past two seasons.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd