The Buccaneers have already hired their new head coach in Lovie Smith, and reportedly have found their offensive and defensive coordinators. But one big role, the general manager position, has still yet to be filled, although it appears former Bears and Chiefs Chris Ballard tops their wish list.
The search for Greg Schiano’s replacement took less than four days, but the person who will occupy Mark Dominik’s vacated office is taking a bit longer, although signs point to the Buccaneers having someone in mind.
Lovie Smith was officially named head coach on Thursday, and Chris Ballard, a close associate from his days in Chicago, could soon be moving south to join him.
Ballard joined the Kansas City Chiefs last season. Ballard duties in Kansas City last season included the college and pro scouting departments and working with General Manager John Dorsey on player acquisition. He also worked with Director of Pro Scouting Will Lewis and Director of College Scouting Marvin Allen to lead the Chiefs scouting efforts, according to the communications department of the Chiefs.
Prior to joining the Chiefs, Ballard spent the 12 seasons with the Chicago Bears personnel department, first as an area scout (2001-11) and then as the Director of Pro Scouting (2012).
As part of the Bears organization Ballard played a role in the drafting of Pro Bowlers Matt Forte, Johnny Knox, Charles Tillman, Tommie Harris, Nathan Vasher and Henry Melton. Ballard was also involved in some notable acquisitions and trades, including the signings of Brandon Marshall, Michael Bush, Jermon Bushrod, Martellus Bennett, D.J. Williams and James Andersen.
Ballard would take over for Dominik who spent the past 19 seasons with the Buccaneers including the last five as the team’s general manager. Dominik's draft success was a mixed bag, but over the last two years appears to be very good with players like Lavonte David, Mark Barron, Doug Martin and a number of other starters being selected.
There has been no official announcement if any other members of the front office were let go.
According to multiple reports the Buccaneers have reached an agreement with former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford as their new offensive coordinator and want to bring in Rod Marinelli to become the team’s new defensive coordinator. Marinelli is still under contract with the Dallas Cowboys where he serves as the defensive line coach.
If Tampa Bay is unable to secure Marinelli, it is thought that former Vikings head coach, Leslie Frazier, would be considered for the same position on Smith’s staff.
Other names the Bucs may have reported interest in include former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo and Washington director of pro personnel Morocco Brown.
The Buccaneers have a 2 p.m. press conference scheduled next Monday to introduce Smith and possibly a new general manager.
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