Larry Mayer, the Bears Senior Writer, reported the Bears interviewed Ryan Pace of the New Orleans Saints and Chris Ballard of the Chiefs for the Chicago Bears GM position. Chris Ballard formerly worked for the Bears.
Pace has spent the last 13 seasons with the Saints, working as a scouting assistant (2002-03), pro scout (2004-06) and director of pro scouting (2007-12) before becoming the team’s director of player personnel in 2013. He was a four-year letterman as a defensive end at Eastern Illinois, where he served as a team captain as a senior.
Before joining the Chiefs in 2013, Ballard spent 11 seasons as a Bears area scout from 2001-11 before serving as the Bears’ director of pro scouting in 2012. As a scout, he helped the Bears draft Pro Bowlers Matt Forte, Johnny Knox, Charles Tillman, Tommie Harris and Nathan Vasher. Prior to joining the Bears, Ballard spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville, tutoring receivers in 1994 and defensive backs from 1995-99 before serving as defensive coordinator in 2000. Ballard played four seasons at Wisconsin.
The Bears have interviewed four candidates for the general manager position. On Tuesday, they spoke to Texans director of pro personnel Brian Gaine and Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson. The Bears are seeking replacements for general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman, both of whom were relieved of their duties Dec. 29.
The team prefers to hire a general manager first so that he would be involved in hiring the coach. But the Bears interviewed two coaching candidates last week in Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn because NFL rules provide only a one-week window for coaches of teams that have first-round playoff byes to be interviewed.
Jan 23, 2013; Mobile AL, USA; New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis with head coach Sean Payton, Director of Player Personnel Ryan Pace and assistant head coach Joe Vitt scouting the Senior Bowl north squad practice a day after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (not pictured) reinstated New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton after his season long suspension. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports