Bears Search Update: Day 3

The Bears will be bringing in a familiar face this weekend to interview for the vacant GM position, while one of the team’s top candidates has taken himself off the market.

The Chicago Bears have been granted permission to speak with Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard for the open general manager position.

Ballard spent 11 years (2001-2011) as the Bears’ southwest area scout. In 2012 he was named Chicago’s director of pro personnel before taking his current position with the Chiefs in 2013.

In two years developing Kansas City’s roster, the Chiefs have gone 20-12 since Ballard’s arrival. He played a significant role in the trade for quarterback Alex Smith, who has proven a reliable and mistake-free signal caller in Andy Reid’s offense.

Ballard also is unique in the fact he also served as a coach. From 1994-2000, he worked on the Texas A&M Kingsville staff, working his way from wide receivers coach, to secondary coach to defensive coordinator in 2000.

Ballard is one of five candidates with whom the Bears have formally requested permission to speak. The interview will take place today or tomorrow.

One of the top names on that list, Baltimore Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, has informed the league that he is not considering any of the available GM positions. He’s staying put in Baltimore, so DeCosta is off the table.

Two other names have been floating around as candidates for the GM position: Alonzo Highsmith, senior personnel director for the Green Bay Packers, and Trent Kirchner, pro personnel director for the Seattle Seahawks. The Bears have not requested permission to speak with either executive but it appears they are on the team’s radar.

As we mentioned in yesterday’s report, the Bears will meet with Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, for the head coach position. That interview takes place today in Seattle.

The Seahawks are in the playoffs yet the Bears are able to speak with Quinn due to Seattle’s first-round bye.



Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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