Indianapolis Colts nab Chiefs’ Chris Ballard for GM position

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Indianapolis Colts wish-list for their new general manager appeared to start with Chris Ballard, and the search ended with Ballard as well. The Colts announced Sunday the hiring of the Chiefs’ director of football operations as their new GM.

The Indianapolis Colts introduced Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard as the team's new general manager on Jan. 29, 2017. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

The Indianapolis Colts introduced Kansas City Chiefs director of football operations Chris Ballard as the team’s new general manager on Jan. 29, 2017. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

The departure of Ballard brings an end to a series of flirtations between Ballard and various NFL teams in recent seasons. The 47-year-old executive joined the Chiefs in 2013 as director of player personnel. The team promoted him to director of football operations in 2015, when Ballard first began drawing attention from teams searching for new general managers.

Chiefs general manager John Dorsey brought Ballard on board four years ago. The Colts new GM spent 12 seasons with the Chicago Bears before joining the Chiefs. He served 11 seasons as an area scout before earning a promotion to director of pro scouting in 2012.

Dorsey wished his protege well in a statement.

“I’m thrilled for Chris and his family. Beyond football, the Colts are getting a good man,” Dorsey said in his statement. “I’ve enjoyed our friendship over the last four years together. I wish him the best moving forward.”

The move to Indianapolis gives Ballard the opportunity  to lead his own organization for the first time. Unlike many general manager opportunities, the Colts are not a fixer-upper derelict. The team has a franchise-caliber quarterback in Andrew Luck and Pro Bowlers such as wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.

Colts owner Jim Irsay praised his new general manager for the sterling reputation he brings to Indianapolis.

“Chris has a solid reputation throughout the National Football League as a heavyweight executive and our extensive discussion with him confirmed that reputation,” Irsay said in a statement. “He’s a savvy, organized and thorough talent evaluator, but beyond that he’s a terrific person and our community will be proud.”

The Colts also issued a statement from Ballard.

“I am so thankful to Mr. Irsay and his entire family for this opportunity to join the Colts organization,” Ballard said in the statement. “I appreciate everyone who has been involved in the search process.”

The departure of Ballard means more to the Chiefs than just the loss of an executive. Ballard carries a strong reputation for identifying talent, which has made him a popular candidate for past GM searches. He also provided the Chiefs an heir apparent for their own general manager position.

Where the Chiefs go to replace Ballard as director of football operations remains an open question. Mike Borgonzi and Brett Veach have shared Ballard’s old position of director of player personnel since 2015.

Borgonzi joined the Chiefs organization in 2009 as college scouting administrator. He earned quick promotion through the ranks, spending time as manager of football operations in 2010 and two seasons as a pro personnel scout. Dorsey promoted Borgonzi to assistant director of pro scouting in 2013.

Veach owns close ties to Chiefs coach Andy Reid. Veach started as Reid’s assistant in Philadelphia from 2007 to 2009. He served as a college and pro scout in 2010 and spent his final two seasons with the Eagles as a college area scout. Veach followed Reid to Kansas City as as pro and college personnel analyst before earning his current position.

Veach also shares a history with Chiefs co-offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. Nagy played quarterback in college at Delaware where he connected for three seasons with Veach, a wide receiver.

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.

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