From his first press conference, when Chris Ballard was introduced as the Colts General Manager, there has been something truly genuine about his demeanor. There was a buzz throughout the league that he was one of the most highly sought after general manager candidates in all of the league and that he was well liked by those who had worked with him at every level along the way.
This is in stark contrast to some of the rumors that were heard swirling around Ryan Grigson’s tenure with the Colts and some of the negative words his former colleagues had to share about him.
If the first impression he left on Colts fans from his introductory press conference and every interaction with the media since he joined the team didn’t already convince fans that Ballard is a rare kind of genuine person who deserves the praise he receives from each organization he has worked with before he arrived in Indianapolis, the story of how he helped Brett Veach prepare for his interview to replace Glenn Dorsey as general manage of the Kansas City Chiefs just might.
In a story on Chiefs.com that explains the whole process of how Veach ended up taking over as the seventh general manager in Chiefs franchise history, he explains the role Ballard played.
Veach, who was going through the interview process for a general manager position for the first time in his career said he got some advice from an old co-worker and a guy who also recently went through a similar process.
“Actually, Chris Ballard,” Veach explained of who helped him prepare for his interview. “He reached out and we talked a while. He’s great. He sent me a bunch of information. It was funny because last summer, going into the 2016 season, I was in the office and Chris would always tell me, ‘Just work on your portfolio, Brett. You’re gonna get a shot, and you never know when it’s going to happen.’
“So, when this all went down, Chris called me and said, ‘Hey listen, I know you already worked on that portfolio, but here’s some more stuff, and when you get that opportunity, this will help when you meet in front of Mr. Hunt.’
“Chris was awesome.”
Look, I get it. Some think this is some kind of fluff piece to stroke the ego of the Colts front office. And don’t get me wrong, if Chris reads this and appreciates the recognition (I suspect he would think nothing of it) I wouldn’t be upset. But what makes this a great story about the leader of the Indianapolis Colts is that Ballard went out of his way to reach out to Veach — not the other way around.
He took an interest in helping someone who he recently worked with in the past as he was preparing to go through the same kind of grueling process that he just experienced. You can bet Veach will never forget that. You can also bet that those are the kinds of relationships that might one day pay dividends when a team is looking to have a meaningful trade conversation or looking for some information as the team prepares to face one of the Chiefs’ rivals — or vice versa.
It is starting to feel really safe to say that the Colts might have something special in Chris Ballard. If his ability developing a football team comes anywhere close to his ability to build and cultivate relationships throughout the NFL, the future is bright in Indianapolis — and also at Brett Veach’s house.