Colts GM Chris Ballard: ‘No other options’ but Pagano

While we appreciate Irsay’s attempt to put lipstick on his pig, it should be noted that the Colts could just as easily be 3-10 if the ball bounced differently in several of their victories.

It’s natural for the owner to see his roster in a positive light. As Irsay laments his team’s bad luck, though, The Indianapolis Star openly wonders if Andrew Luck is further away from the than he’s ever been.

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 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 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.

He added: “I’ll keep that conversation between me and Andrew. He’s a great human being as you all know. The Indianapolis Colts are fortunate to have him. He’s rehabbing, he’s doing everything the doctors are telling him. We’ll go strictly on the doctor’s orders. He’s been there every day I’ve been in the building. Andrew has been sitting there working, rehabbing, doing everything that needs to be done.”

Ballard has been on a white-knuckle ride since taking over the general manager gig in late January, but seeing Luck in the building rehabbing has to provide some sense of peace. Indianapolis has seen the future of their franchise already play through shoulder pain and through a lacerated kidney in the past. Getting him on the field completely healthy can negate so many of the holes Indianapolis has across their offense.Russell Westbrook jersey

We really don’t need to explain why Manning is deserving of a statue, but we’ll do it anyway: 71,940 yards passing, 539 touchdowns (including the single-season record of 55 in 2013), 251 interceptions, career completion percentage of 65.3 (on 9,380 attempts), career passer rating of 96.5, five-time NFL MVP, seven-time first-team All-Pro, two-time Super Bowl champion (four appearances), multiple seasons leading one of the league’s highest-powered offenses, and a rejuvenation in Denver that resulted in two Super Bowl appearances and a career-capping victory in Super Bowl 50. We also can’t forget his life-sized action figure role in a Gatorade commercial (Peyton Manning, your very own action toy, personal quarterback, he’s all yours!), or his grocery store deli chants (cut that meat!).

Drafted first overall out of Tennessee in 1998, Manning solidifed the quarterback position for a decade and a half in Indianapolis and made the RCA Dome (and later, Lucas Oil Stadium) a place that most teams didn’t want to visit, lest they be blown out by the juggernaut offense of the Colts. Manning’s sustained excellence also helped turn much of Indiana into Colts fans 15 years after they left Baltimore for Indianapolis. He’s the first Colt of the Indianapolis era to have his jersey retired.

Ballard comes to Indy just one week after Irsay surprisingly fired general manager Ryan Grigson after five seasons. Grigson’s regime was marred by frequent communication issues with Pagano and roster-building challenges — two aspects Ballard said he will be focused on improving.

When asked if there were “other options” for the Colts at head coach beside Pagano, Ballard threw his full support behind the Colts coach of five years.

Kush’s intense style figured prominently in his firing in October 1979 for what the university said was his interference in an internal investigation of allegations by a former player of physical and mental harassment against the coach.

He was head coach of the NFL’s Colts for two years in Baltimore and one in Indianapolis from 1982 to 1984, compiling an 11-28-1 record. Kush also spent one season as head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.