(CBS) One of the Bears’ top candidates for their general manager vacancy has eliminated the main competition on the market.
Chiefs director of pro personnel Chris Ballard has turned down the offer to interview for the Jets’ general manager job, NFL Network reporter Albert Breer reported Monday afternoon. Ballard will interview for Chicago’s GM job on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
The Jets are the only team in the NFL besides the Bears that has a GM job available with full football power (the Eagles have an open GM spot, but coach Chip Kelly has the ultimate say on football-related decisions). So if Ballard is Chicago’s top target, it’s an encouraging sign for the franchise that he turned down the opportunity to interview in New York.
Still, it’s a fluid situation. The Bears will interview Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson on Tuesday, and reports indicate other candidates remain in the mix as well. Texans pro personnel director Brian Gaine will interview with the Bears too, the Sun-Times reported Monday, though an exact time isn’t yet known.
Ballard saying no to the Jets isn’t the first time he’s turned down a shot at a GM spot. Ballard turned down an opportunity to interview for the GM role in Tampa Bay last season.
In 2001, Ballard got his NFL start as an area scout for the Bears in the Southwest, a role he held for 11 seasons. In 2012, he was promoted to director of pro scouting for Chicago.
Over the past two seasons, Ballard has overseen the Chiefs’ college and pro scouting departments. Ballard helped turn the Chiefs around from 2-14 to a playoff team last season.
A former Wisconsin quarterback and wide receiver, Ballard got his coaching start as an assistant at Texas A&M Kingsville. In seven seasons, Ballard worked with the wide receivers, secondary and eventually served as defensive coordinator.