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Chris Ballard leads candidates for Colts' GM opening

When the Coltsfired general manager Ryan Grigson last week, it seemed almost immediately as if the person to replace him would be Jimmy Raye III.

Six days later, that isn't so certain.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Friday that it's Chris Ballard of the Chiefs at the head of the pack, not Raye, near the latter stages of the first round of interviews. Currently serving as the director of player personnel in Kansas City, Ballard interviewed with the Colts on Wednesday. It's not certain that there will be a second round of interviews, but the process is expected to last about another week, Garafolo added.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that the Colts will bring in Ballard for a second interview on Monday, per a team source.

Ballard was hired by the Chiefs in May 2013, bringing 12 years of experience gained working for the Chicago Bears as part of a scouting department whose work led to the selections of Matt Forte, Charles Tillman and Tommie Harris, among others. Ballard joined the Chiefs just months after the franchise hired head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey, a regime that has produced 44 wins and three playoff appearances in the four years since.

The Colts' front office move was rather belated by league standards, and came only after the organization concluded coach Chuck Pagano and Grigson couldn't coexist any longer. Indianapolis largely missed the hiring cycle, but they made the move in a year that saw the majority of front offices go unchanged, meaning the team hasn't missed out on the hot candidates.

As a result, they have the liberty to take their time to make the decision and are using it to find a person they plan to have entrenched at the helm with or without Pagano beyond 2017. It's a good time for the next GM of the Colts, because he'll step in with deep pockets -- Indianapolis has $55 million in cap space to spend, and attempt to avoid wasting on over-the-hill veterans as Grigson had in previous years.

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