Corey Ballentine is playing his rookie season for his best friend and this New York Giants rookie wants to make some noise.
On Saturday, April 27, Corey Ballentine and his friend Dwayne Simmons were shot coming home from a party.
Ballentine talked publicly for the first time—on Sunday—about the shooting. It was an incident that happened just hours after one of the brightest moments of his life.
He had recently been drafted in the sixth round by the New York Giants. However, things took a tragic turn of events when he and his best friend were shot later that day.
It was a “tragic event” for Ballentine and the Simmons’ family. It has taken a while for Ballentine to recover both mentally and physically as he was also shot.
“I think about it every day,” Ballentine said via Jordan Raanan of ESPN. “It’s hard. Earlier on, I was a little paranoid, but now that I’m out here in New York, I’ve got a lot of support from the organization.”
Ballentine is back after making a full recovery. He is currently working with the third-team defense and getting special teams reps. Due to his inexperience, the Washburn product will likely play the majority of his snaps this year on special teams.
However, this will not stop him from doing all that he can to prove himself. He wants to play his heart out for himself and for Dwayne Simmons.
“Play my best,” Ballentine said. “I know he wouldn’t want me sulking and being down and whatnot. So I’m just going to do my best to make this team and pitch in and try to win a Super Bowl with this team by giving my best effort.”
His thirst for success may help him see the field sooner than expected. He wants to prove to everyone that he can do it. And not only for himself but also for his former Washburn teammate.
“Yeah, because I think he helped me get here every step of the way,” Ballentine stated. “When I was on the field by myself he would come out there and join me. I feel like I’m kind of doing it for both of us. I know if he was here now, he would love to see where I’m at and how I’m doing and want to visit and all that stuff. Like I said, I spent the most time with him, he was my best friend. So I’m just going to keep him in my heart but at the same time strive for the goals of the team and my personal goals and do my best.”
Even at the beginning of training camp, Ballentine has already made some noise. On Saturday, he made a great play on the ball and returned it for a touchdown. More of these types of plays will help Ballentine see the field on a consistent basis and help honor his friend.