Staff

Chris Ballard, General Manager

Energy, experience and vision. Those were the specific traits Colts Owner & CEO Jim Irsay used to describe Chris Ballard who was hired as the team’s general manager on January 29, 2017. Ballard brings an experienced background to Indianapolis, which includes 16 seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears (2001-2012) and Kansas City Chiefs (2013-16) in a variety of roles.

 

Ballard wasted no time making his mark on the Colts roster, which is constructed to exude competition heading into the 2017 campaign. In the first few months since arriving in Indianapolis, he signed 11 unrestricted free agents in addition to re-signing several Colts who have been key to the team’s success.

 

Ballard strengthened the defense with the signings of defensive linemen Johnathan Hankins, Margus Hunt and Al Woods. He also supplemented the linebacker position with athleticism and depth following the signings of Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Sean Spence, Barkevious Mingo and Jon Bostic. Ballard re-signed Darius Butler whose versatility in the secondary has proven to be beneficial. In 67 games with the Colts dating back to 2012, Butler has started at both left and right cornerback, nickel and most recently free safety in 2016.

 

Competition was the theme on offense as well, as Ballard added veteran players in wide receiver Kamar Aiken, center/guard Brian Schwenke and tight end Brandon Williams. Two other significant moves came with the re-signings of tight end Jack Doyle and running back Robert Turbin. The pair combined for 13 touchdowns last season and Doyle ranked first among NFL tight ends with the highest catch percentage (78.7). Ballard also inked four-year veteran punter Jeff Locke.

 

Ballard took a defensive approach to his first NFL Draft at the helm. With the 15th overall selection in the first round, he selected safety Malik Hooker who has notable ball hawk skills and led the nation with three interceptions returned for touchdowns last season. Hooker was also named a unanimous First Team All-America selection in 2016 and was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award.

 

On the second day of the draft, Ballard added cornerback Quincy Wilson (46th overall) and outside linebacker Tarell Basham (80th overall). Wilson was named a Second Team All-SEC choice by The Associated Press in 2016 and he finished his collegiate career with 84 tackles, six interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 17 passes defensed. Basham led his Ohio Bobcats to three bowl game appearances and set school records for career sacks (29.5) and sacks in a single season (11.5 in 2016). He was named the 2016 MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

 

In early March, Ballard traded tight end Dwayne Allen and a sixth round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for a fourth round selection. He opened the third day of the draft with that pick and acquired tackle Zach Banner (137th overall) from USC. Banner’s impressive 6-9 frame placed him as a regular starter on the Trojans offensive line. He was named an All-Pac 12 first-team choice in 2015. Ballard’s second offensive selection in the draft came with running back Marlon Mack (143rd overall). Mack was a three-year starter and left South Florida as the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards (3,609) and rushing touchdowns (32). Ballard then concluded the draft with the selections of defensive tackle Grover Stewart (144th overall), cornerback Nate Hairston (158th overall) and inside linebacker Anthony Walker (161st overall). Stewart posted 141 tackles and 27.0 sacks in his collegiate career while Hairston recorded 27 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions and five passes defensed in his final season at Temple. Walker finished his career at Northwestern with 278 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, four interceptions and 12 passes defensed.

 

Ballard came to the Colts following a four-year stint with Kansas City, most recently as the director of football operations from 2015-16. He was promoted to the position after serving two seasons (2013-14) as the Chiefs director of player personnel. Ballard oversaw the college and pro scouting departments and worked directly with General Manager John Dorsey on player acquisition. He also worked with Director of Pro Scouting Will Lewis and Director of College Scouting Marvin Allen on personnel matters.

 

From 2013-16, the Chiefs won 43 games (fourth-most in the NFL), made three playoff appearances, won one AFC West Division title (2016) and had 15 players named to the Pro Bowl, including at least four in each season. Inheriting a team that went 2-14 in 2012, Ballard assisted in an overhaul of Kansas City’s roster in 2013. By the end of the season, there were a total of 30 new players on the 53-man squad that went 11-5 and reached the playoffs as a Wild Card contender after finishing second in the AFC West.

 

Ballard helped the Chiefs draft four Pro Bowl players, including linebacker D.J. Alexander, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and cornerback Marcus Peters. The team also acquired two-time Pro Bowl (2013 and 2016) quarterback Alex Smith in free agency in 2013.

 

Prior to Kansas City, Ballard began his NFL career with the Chicago Bears. In 12 seasons with the Bears personnel department, he served as the director of pro scouting (2012) and was the southwest area scout (2001-2011).

 

During Ballard’s tenure in Chicago, the Bears reached the playoffs four times, winning four NFC North titles (2001, 2005, 2006 and 2010) and appeared in two NFC Championship Games (2006 and 2010). The Bears won the NFC Championship in 2006 and faced the Colts in Super Bowl XLI in Miami.

 

With the Bears, Ballard helped draft numerous Pro Bowl players, including running back Matt Forte (2008), wide receiver Johnny Knox (2009), cornerback Charles Tillman (2003), defensive tackle Tommie Harris (2004), cornerback Nathan Vasher (2004) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (2009). He also assisted in many notable acquisitions and trades, including the signings of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, guard Jermon Bushrod, tight end Martellus Bennett, linebacker D.J. Williams and linebacker James Anderson.

 

Before entering player personnel, Ballard spent seven seasons (1994-2000) on the coaching staff at Texas A&M-Kingsville under 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Head Coach Ron Harms. In 2000, he served as defensive coordinator after stints as the secondary coach (1995-99) and wide receivers coach (1994). During his time with the Javelinas, Ballard helped mentor future NFL players Richard Jones, Karl Williams, Floyd Young and current Chiefs Secondary/Cornerbacks Coach Al Harris. Additionally, Texas A&M-Kingsville produced 1996 first-round draft pick Jermane Mayberry.

 

Ballard played four years of collegiate football at the University of Wisconsin, part of which under former head coach and current Badgers Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez. He served as a student assistant his senior year after suffering multiple knee injuries prior to graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1993. Ballard is a native of Texas City, Texas. He and his wife, Kristin, reside with their five children in Westfield, Ind.

 

CAREER EXPERIENCE

1994                        Texas A&M-Kingsville                         Wide Receivers

1995-1999           Texas A&M-Kingsville                         Secondary Coach

2000                        Texas A&M-Kingsville                         Defensive Coordinator

2001-2011           Chicago Bears                                         Southwest Area Scout

2012                        Chicago Bears                                         Director of Pro Scouting

2013-2014           Kansas City Chiefs                                 Director of Player Personnel

2015-2016           Kansas City Chiefs                                 Director of Football Operations

2017                        Indianapolis Colts                                General Manager

Chris Ballard, General Manager

Energy, experience and vision. Those were the specific traits Colts Owner & CEO Jim Irsay used to describe Chris Ballard who was hired as the team’s general manager on January 29, 2017. Ballard brings an experienced background to Indianapolis, which includes 16 seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears (2001-2012) and Kansas City Chiefs (2013-16) in a variety of roles.

 

Ballard wasted no time making his mark on the Colts roster, which is constructed to exude competition heading into the 2017 campaign. In the first few months since arriving in Indianapolis, he signed 11 unrestricted free agents in addition to re-signing several Colts who have been key to the team’s success.

 

Ballard strengthened the defense with the signings of defensive linemen Johnathan Hankins, Margus Hunt and Al Woods. He also supplemented the linebacker position with athleticism and depth following the signings of Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Sean Spence, Barkevious Mingo and Jon Bostic. Ballard re-signed Darius Butler whose versatility in the secondary has proven to be beneficial. In 67 games with the Colts dating back to 2012, Butler has started at both left and right cornerback, nickel and most recently free safety in 2016.

 

Competition was the theme on offense as well, as Ballard added veteran players in wide receiver Kamar Aiken, center/guard Brian Schwenke and tight end Brandon Williams. Two other significant moves came with the re-signings of tight end Jack Doyle and running back Robert Turbin. The pair combined for 13 touchdowns last season and Doyle ranked first among NFL tight ends with the highest catch percentage (78.7). Ballard also inked four-year veteran punter Jeff Locke.

 

Ballard took a defensive approach to his first NFL Draft at the helm. With the 15th overall selection in the first round, he selected safety Malik Hooker who has notable ball hawk skills and led the nation with three interceptions returned for touchdowns last season. Hooker was also named a unanimous First Team All-America selection in 2016 and was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award.

 

On the second day of the draft, Ballard added cornerback Quincy Wilson (46th overall) and outside linebacker Tarell Basham (80th overall). Wilson was named a Second Team All-SEC choice by The Associated Press in 2016 and he finished his collegiate career with 84 tackles, six interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 17 passes defensed. Basham led his Ohio Bobcats to three bowl game appearances and set school records for career sacks (29.5) and sacks in a single season (11.5 in 2016). He was named the 2016 MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

 

In early March, Ballard traded tight end Dwayne Allen and a sixth round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for a fourth round selection. He opened the third day of the draft with that pick and acquired tackle Zach Banner (137th overall) from USC. Banner’s impressive 6-9 frame placed him as a regular starter on the Trojans offensive line. He was named an All-Pac 12 first-team choice in 2015. Ballard’s second offensive selection in the draft came with running back Marlon Mack (143rd overall). Mack was a three-year starter and left South Florida as the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards (3,609) and rushing touchdowns (32). Ballard then concluded the draft with the selections of defensive tackle Grover Stewart (144th overall), cornerback Nate Hairston (158th overall) and inside linebacker Anthony Walker (161st overall). Stewart posted 141 tackles and 27.0 sacks in his collegiate career while Hairston recorded 27 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions and five passes defensed in his final season at Temple. Walker finished his career at Northwestern with 278 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, four interceptions and 12 passes defensed.

 

Ballard came to the Colts following a four-year stint with Kansas City, most recently as the director of football operations from 2015-16. He was promoted to the position after serving two seasons (2013-14) as the Chiefs director of player personnel. Ballard oversaw the college and pro scouting departments and worked directly with General Manager John Dorsey on player acquisition. He also worked with Director of Pro Scouting Will Lewis and Director of College Scouting Marvin Allen on personnel matters.

 

From 2013-16, the Chiefs won 43 games (fourth-most in the NFL), made three playoff appearances, won one AFC West Division title (2016) and had 15 players named to the Pro Bowl, including at least four in each season. Inheriting a team that went 2-14 in 2012, Ballard assisted in an overhaul of Kansas City’s roster in 2013. By the end of the season, there were a total of 30 new players on the 53-man squad that went 11-5 and reached the playoffs as a Wild Card contender after finishing second in the AFC West.

 

Ballard helped the Chiefs draft four Pro Bowl players, including linebacker D.J. Alexander, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and cornerback Marcus Peters. The team also acquired two-time Pro Bowl (2013 and 2016) quarterback Alex Smith in free agency in 2013.

 

Prior to Kansas City, Ballard began his NFL career with the Chicago Bears. In 12 seasons with the Bears personnel department, he served as the director of pro scouting (2012) and was the southwest area scout (2001-2011).

 

During Ballard’s tenure in Chicago, the Bears reached the playoffs four times, winning four NFC North titles (2001, 2005, 2006 and 2010) and appeared in two NFC Championship Games (2006 and 2010). The Bears won the NFC Championship in 2006 and faced the Colts in Super Bowl XLI in Miami.

 

With the Bears, Ballard helped draft numerous Pro Bowl players, including running back Matt Forte (2008), wide receiver Johnny Knox (2009), cornerback Charles Tillman (2003), defensive tackle Tommie Harris (2004), cornerback Nathan Vasher (2004) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (2009). He also assisted in many notable acquisitions and trades, including the signings of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, guard Jermon Bushrod, tight end Martellus Bennett, linebacker D.J. Williams and linebacker James Anderson.

 

Before entering player personnel, Ballard spent seven seasons (1994-2000) on the coaching staff at Texas A&M-Kingsville under 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Head Coach Ron Harms. In 2000, he served as defensive coordinator after stints as the secondary coach (1995-99) and wide receivers coach (1994). During his time with the Javelinas, Ballard helped mentor future NFL players Richard Jones, Karl Williams, Floyd Young and current Chiefs Secondary/Cornerbacks Coach Al Harris. Additionally, Texas A&M-Kingsville produced 1996 first-round draft pick Jermane Mayberry.

 

Ballard played four years of collegiate football at the University of Wisconsin, part of which under former head coach and current Badgers Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez. He served as a student assistant his senior year after suffering multiple knee injuries prior to graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1993. Ballard is a native of Texas City, Texas. He and his wife, Kristin, reside with their five children in Westfield, Ind.

 

CAREER EXPERIENCE

1994                        Texas A&M-Kingsville                         Wide Receivers

1995-1999           Texas A&M-Kingsville                         Secondary Coach

2000                        Texas A&M-Kingsville                         Defensive Coordinator

2001-2011           Chicago Bears                                         Southwest Area Scout

2012                        Chicago Bears                                         Director of Pro Scouting

2013-2014           Kansas City Chiefs                                 Director of Player Personnel

2015-2016           Kansas City Chiefs                                 Director of Football Operations

2017                        Indianapolis Colts                                General Manager