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Colts' Ballard, Reich big fans of Matt Eberflus

Chris Ballard, Matt Eberflus & Frank Reich

Having worked with Matt Eberflus in Indianapolis the past four seasons, Colts general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich praised the Bears for hiring the 51-year-old as their new coach.

"Matt is an outstanding leader and a man of strong conviction," Ballard said. "There is a standard that must be met by the players he coaches, and he does a fantastic job targeting their strengths while putting them in the best position to succeed."

Inheriting a Colts defense that ranked 30th in the NFL in both scoring and total yards in 2017, Eberflus helped the unit improve to 10th in scoring and 11th in yards in his first year in 2018.

After finishing with a 4-12 record in 2017, the Colts rebounded to earn a wild-card berth with a 10-6 mark in 2018, beating the Texans in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the Chiefs in a divisional game.

"Upon his arrival to Indianapolis, he made immediate gains with our defense and consistently had our unit ranked toward the top of the league," Ballard said. "We knew it was only a matter of time before he became a head coach, and he is extremely deserving of this opportunity. Chicago will love Matt's intensity, dedication and his desire to win."

Eberflus was part of Reich's original staff in Indianapolis. Under Eberflus, Indianapolis was the only NFL defense to be ranked in the top 10 in scoring, rushing yards and takeaways each of the past two seasons. The Colts finished in the top 10 in the NFL in run defense and takeaways in all four of his years, top 10 in points allowed in three of the four, and were the least penalized defense in the league in 2019 and 2021.

"I'm thankful and appreciative of the opportunity to coach with Matt over these past four seasons," Reich said. "I learned a tremendous amount from him, and I respect the way he led our defensive unit. We played aggressive and with great discipline and consistently were a top-10 team at taking the ball away. I appreciate all Matt has done for the Colts and I'm excited for his opportunity with the Bears. I think he'll do a fantastic job."

“Chicago will love Matt’s intensity, dedication and his desire to win.” Colts GM Chris Ballard on new Bears coach Matt Eberflus