The San Francisco 49ers GM search process included a request to interview Kansas City Chiefs director of football operations Chris Ballard. The Chiefs denied the 49ers interview request, and Jed York moved on with the process. Now, Ballard will be interviewing for the Colts GM job, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.
At the time of the interview request, it was reported that the Chiefs turned down the 49ers request. Teams are allowed to do that for executives when the team remains in the playoffs. However, there have also been rumors that Ballard asked the Chiefs to decline on his behalf. That way, he would not need to turn down an opportunity he did not want, and it does not reflect potentially poorly on him.
This is all speculation since I don’t think anybody has gone on record to say what is actually true. Whatever the case, Ballard is interviewing with the Colts today, as part of a huge contingent of options for the team. They are also interviewing George Paton either Wednesday or Thursday, in a process that happened quickly following the team’s late decision to fire Ryan Grigson.
Whether or not Ballard wanted to interview with the 49ers, it makes sense that he would want to interview with the Colts. While he would likely be saddled with Chuck Pagano as his head coach for this coming season, Pagano is unlikely to last beyond the coming season. More importantly, Ballard would have a franchise quarterback in place in the form of Andrew Luck. There are a lot of issues on the Colts roster, but when you know you’ve got your franchise QB for the foreseeable future, you’ve removed a huge stumbling block. I can’t blame Ballard for wanting a shot at that job.