Chris Ballard (American football)

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Chris Ballard
Indianapolis Colts
Position:General manager
Personal information
Born: (1969-06-24) June 24, 1969 (age 51)[1][2]
Galveston, Texas, U.S.
Career information
College:University of Wisconsin–Madison[3]
Career history
As coach:
  • Texas A&M-Kingsville (1994)
    Wide receivers coach
  • Texas A&M-Kingsville (1995–1998)
    Secondary coach
  • Texas A&M–Kingsville (1999)
    Defensive coordinator & secondary coach
As executive:
As administrator:
  • Chicago Bears (2001–2011)
    Southwest Area scout
  • Chicago Bears (2012)
    Director of pro scouting
Career highlights and awards

Chris Ballard (born June 24, 1969) is an American football executive, currently serving as the general manager for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL).[4][5] Before joining the Colts, Ballard was an executive for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he most recently served as the Director of Football Operations,[6][7] was a scout for the Chicago Bears, and served in various coaching roles at Texas A&M University–Kingsville.[8][9]

Early life[edit]

Ballard was born in Galveston, Texas. Growing up a severe asthmatic in Texas, as well as Wisconsin, Ballard's parents reluctantly let him play football at a young age. He was a star quarterback in high school.[10] Ballard's favorite NFL team was once the Pittsburgh Steelers, stating that his favorite player was Terry Bradshaw.[11]

Ballard attended the University of Wisconsin, and switched his position to wide receiver during his freshman year.[10]


Early career[edit]

After college, Ballard became a history teacher for Hitchcock Junior High while also contributing to their football program. After a referral from Hitchcock's head coach, Ballard was interviewed by Ron Harms of Texas A&M-Kingsville for the position of receivers coach.[10]

Texas A&M–Kingsville[edit]

Ballard would get the job to coach at Texas A&M–Kingsville. In one practice session, Ballard broke his collarbone while training the receivers in a blocking drill. Ballard would move around the ranks during this time to coach the secondary and defense.[10]

Chicago Bears[edit]

Ballard jumped for the opportunity to join Jerry Angelo's scouting staff for the Chicago Bears in the 2001 season. It was during this time that he declined a job offer to run first-year coach Art Briles' secondary at the University of Houston.[10]

Ballard contributed to Chicago's success in the twelve years he was there. In 2012, he received a promotion to become Chicago's Director of Professional Scouting. Ballard would only remain in this position for one season before moving to the Kansas City Chiefs.[10]

During his time with the Chicago Bears, Ballard was said to be involved with many acquisitions such as Matt Forte, Johnny Knox, Brandon Marshall, and Martellus Bennett.[12]

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Prior to the 2013 season, Ballard joined the Kansas City Chiefs as Director of Player Personnel, the position he remained in until the conclusion of the 2014 season in which he received a promotion to become the Director of Football Operations.[10]

He remained with the Chiefs until the conclusion of the 2016 regular season. While with the Kansas City Chiefs, Ballard was involved in drafting Pro-Bowlers Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Marcus Peters.[12]

Indianapolis Colts[edit]

In the midst of the 2016 NFL Playoffs, Ballard was introduced as the new General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts. Ballard was reportedly attracted to the Indianapolis General Manager job following the dismissal of Ryan Grigson because of the local ownership and team history.[12]

He immediately began a roster makeover, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. He cut four starters from the prior season. The Colts would have a losing record in Ballard's first season as their GM.[10]

Prior to his second season, the Colts fired Head Coach Chuck Pagano. Despite the Colts announcing that they had signed New England Patriots offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels, McDaniels unexpectedly withdrew from the agreement in principle.[13] On February 11th, 2018, the Colts announced Frank Reich as their new head coach.[14]

The Colts finished the season with a 10-6 record, and two of Ballard's 2018 draft choices, Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard were named to the AP All-Pro First Team, becoming the first set of rookie teammates to be named First Team All-Pro since 1965 and only the second in NFL history.[15] Additionally, Leonard was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.[16]

Ballard was named as the Pro Football Writers Association 2018 NFL Executive of the Year.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Ballard and his wife, Kristin, adopted two kids from Texas in 2012, expanding their family to five children, which include three biological children.[18]


  1. ^ "Birth reference results for Christopher (Rob) Ballard". Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  2. ^ Birth reference data from|access-date=January 20, 2018}}
  3. ^
  4. ^ Holder, Stephen (January 29, 2017). "Colts hire Chris Ballard as general manager". USA Today. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  5. ^ Orr, Conor (January 29, 2017). "Indianapolis Colts name Chris Ballard general manager". NFL. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  6. ^ "Chiefs Announce Player Personnel Staff Promotions". Kansas City Chiefs. May 29, 2015. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Paylor, Terez A. (January 29, 2017). "Chiefs' Chris Ballard leaving to become Colts' GM". Kansas City Star. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Newell, Nat (January 29, 2017). "5 things to know about new Colts GM Chris Ballard". Indy Star. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Ferrin, Reid (May 7, 2013). "Chris Ballard Hired as Director of Player Personnel". Kansas City Chiefs. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "The making of Chris Ballard". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  11. ^ Goldstein, Steven. "8 things you should know about Chris Ballard". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c O'Keefe, PJ (January 30, 2017). "Colts hire Chris Ballard as new General Manager". RTV6. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
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  18. ^ "KRAVITZ: On Father's Day, Chris Ballard talks about adopting two children: 'Better than winning any Super Bowl...'". 13 WTHR Indianapolis. June 18, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2017.