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Colts hire Chris Ballard as general manager

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have found their new general manager. The team announced today that they have hired Chris Ballard to replace Ryan Grigson, who was fired last weekend.

Ballard has been the director of football operations for the Kansas City Chiefs for the past two years, but before that was the director of player personnel for the Chiefs for two seasons. He came to Kansas City with GM John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid, but before that spent twelve seasons with the Chicago Bears: eleven as the southwest area scout (2001-2011) and then one as director of pro scouting (2012). He has been one of the most highly-regarded GM candidates in the NFL recently and had shown a hesitancy to interview with teams, but the Colts’ job is obviously more attractive than the average job because of Andrew Luck. Ballard interviewed with the Colts last week and then was invited back for a second interview, one that obviously sealed the deal.

As far as general manager hires go, this one’s a home run. Ballard is widely regarded as one of the top personnel men in football and has long been viewed as a potential GM, and now he’ll get his chance. We’ll see where the Colts go from here, but hiring Ballard is an absolutely tremendous first step toward improving the franchise.

The biggest question in the immediate future is about what this means for head coach Chuck Pagano. It’s been reported that Ballard would prefer his own head coach, which should be obvious to pretty much everyone. But will that actually happen, or is he coming to Indy despite the fact that Pagano will still be around? We don’t know the details of that right now, but there’s plenty of time to figure out those things. For now, Colts fans can celebrate the fact that Jim Irsay got his man in the GM search, as Chris Ballard’s coming to Indy. There will be a press conference to introduce him on Monday.