The Indianapolis Colts today hired Chris Ballard as the team’s new general manager.
“I am extremely excited to welcome Chris Ballard as our general manager,” said Colts Owner & CEO Jim Irsay. “Chris has a solid reputation throughout the National Football League as a heavyweight executive and our extensive discussions with him confirmed that reputation. He’s a savvy, organized, and thorough talent evaluator, but beyond that, he’s a terrific person our community will be proud of.”
Ballard comes to the Colts following a four-year stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, most recently as the director of football operations from 2015-16. He was promoted to the position after serving two seasons (2013-14) as the Chiefs’ director of player personnel. Prior to Kansas City, Ballard began his NFL career with the Chicago Bears. In 12 seasons with the Bears personnel department, he served as the director of pro scouting (2012) and as the southwest area scout (2001-2011).
“I am so thankful to Mr. Irsay and his entire family for this opportunity to join the Colts organization,” said Colts General Manager Chris Ballard. “I appreciate everyone who has been involved in the search process. I look forward to working with Chuck and his staff, the personnel staff, and all the outstanding Colts employees. My wife Kristen and our children cannot wait to get to Indianapolis and become active members of the community.”
“I am extremely excited about Chris coming on as our general manager,” said Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and a ton of experience to the organization. I’m looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and going to work alongside him.”
As director of football operations, Ballard oversaw the college and pro scouting departments and worked directly with Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey on player acquisition. He also worked with Kansas City’s Director of Pro Scouting Will Lewis and Director of College Scouting Marvin Allen on personnel matters.
Since 2013, the Chiefs have won 43 games (fourth-most in the NFL), made three playoff appearances, won one AFC West Division title (2016) and have had 15 players named to the Pro Bowl, including at least four in each season. Inheriting a roster that went 2-14 in 2012, Ballard assisted in an overhaul of Kansas City’s roster in 2013. By the time the 2013 season was over, there were a total of 30 new players on the 53-man roster that went 11-5 and reached the playoffs as a Wild Card contender after finishing second in the AFC West.
Ballard helped the Chiefs draft four Pro Bowl players, including linebacker D.J. Alexander, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and cornerback Marcus Peters. The team also acquired quarterback Alex Smith in free agency in 2013 and he has earned two Pro Bowl nods (2013, 2016).
During Ballard’s tenure in Chicago, the Bears reached the playoffs four times, winning four NFC North titles (2001, 2005, 2006 and 2010) and appearing in two NFC Championship Games (2006 and 2010). The Bears won the NFC Championship in 2006 and faced the Colts in Super Bowl XLI in Miami.
With the Bears, Ballard helped draft numerous Pro Bowl players, including running back Matt Forte (2008), wide receiver Johnny Knox (2009), cornerback Charles Tillman (2003), defensive tackle Tommie Harris (2004), cornerback Nathan Vasher (2004) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (2009). He also assisted in many notable acquisitions and trades, including the signings of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, running back Michael Bush, guard Jermon Bushrod, tight end Martellus Bennett, linebacker D.J. Williams and linebacker James Anderson.
Prior to entering player personnel, Ballard spent seven seasons (1994-2000) on the coaching staff at Texas A&M-Kingsville under 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Head Coach Ron Harms. In 2000, he served as defensive coordinator after stints as secondary coach (1995-99) and wide receivers coach (1994). During his time with the Javelinas, Ballard helped mentor future NFL players Richard Jones, Karl Williams, Floyd Young and current Chiefs Defensive Assistant/Secondary Coach Al Harris. Additionally, Texas A&M-Kingsville produced 1996 first-round draft pick Jermane Mayberry.
Ballard played four years of collegiate football at the University of Wisconsin and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1993. He served as a student assistant his senior year after suffering multiple knee injuries.