San Francisco 49ers

Reports: Colts to interview Chris Ballard, who didn’t meet with 49ers

SANTA CLARA -- Two NFL executives who turned away from 49ers' general manager opening will interview with the Indianapolis Colts about their general manager position, the NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The Kansas City Chiefs' Chris Ballard and the Green Bay Packers' Eliot Wolf both were on the 49ers' initial list of candidates. Ballard -- depending on which national report you read -- either declined to interview with San Francisco or was blocked by Kansas City while Wolf pulled out of the running last week ahead of the team's second interview with him.

The Chiefs could have blocked an interview with Ballard when they were in the playoffs earlier this month, but they cannot now that they’ve been eliminated. Teams also can’t grant one team permission to interview an employee for a high-level job like general manager and block another.

Why would the Colts job be more attractive to a general manager candidate? For one, Indianapolis already has found its franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck while all four of the 49ers 2016 quarterbacks may be headed for free agency in March. Second, head coach Chuck Pagano’s job is tenuous in Indianapolis, and an incoming general manager may feel he will be able to pick a replacement in coming years. In San Francisco, the sense is that power will be in the hands of first-time head coach Kyle Shanahan, who will have plenty of leeway to rebuild the 49ers.

The 49ers instead will have second meetings with George Paton of the Minnesota Vikings and Terry McDonough of the Arizona Cardinals Saturday in Atlanta. Those visits will be in conjunction with an interview with presumptive head coach Shanahan, who is the offensive coordinator of the Falcons.

Paton also will interview with the Colts as will the Seattle Seahawks' Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, and the Colts' Jimmy Raye III, all of whom also met with the 49ers.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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