Eliot Wolf staying in Green Bay as Colts hire Chris Ballard for - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Eliot Wolf staying in Green Bay as Colts hire Chris Ballard for GM position


Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is turning to another first-time general manager to get his franchise back on track.

Eight days after firing Ryan Grigson and conducting a week of interviews which included Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf, Irsay hired former Kansas City Chiefs executive Chris Ballard.

The announcement came Sunday on the team's website.

Ballard has never previously served as a team's top decision-maker, but he comes with a long history as a scout and front-office executive. He was hired by the Chiefs in 2013 as the director of player personnel and was promoted to director of football operations under current GM John Dorsey.

Last season, the Chiefs earned the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and they've been a consistent playoff contender despite not having a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Like Grigson, Ballard worked with coach Andy Reid. And like Grigson, the move comes after most teams had already announced offseason coaching and front office changes.

Irsay has already said he expects coach Chuck Pagano to be back next season.

Ballard was chosen from a pool of six candidates, each of whom interviewed with Irsay during the week. Ballard reportedly was brought in for a second interview this weekend.

The former University of Wisconsin football player began his front office career as an area scout with the Chicago Bears. After 12 seasons in Chicago, he was hired by the Chiefs.

He takes over a team that has missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons after going 8-8.

But he also now build a young, improving offense that includes one of the league's best young quarterbacks in Andrew Luck, a Pro Bowl receiver in T.Y. Hilton and a young offensive line that played its best football over the last month of the season.

What he still needs to do is come up with playmakers on a defense that could be in for a major offseason overhaul.

Robert Mathis, Indy's career sacks leader, is retiring, and last season's sacks leader, Erik Walden, could become an unrestricted free agent.

No immediate statement was made by Irsay and the team has not yet scheduled a formal introduction.

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