Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich, GM Chris Ballard get contract extensions through 2026

WESTFIELD, Ind. -- Colts owner Jim Irsay has locked up head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard with contract extensions through the 2026 season, the team announced Wednesday.

Ballard's new deal has been complete since June, while Reich finalized his deal last week, a source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

"We have as great a general manager-head coach combination as there is in the NFL, and I can't tell you how proud I am to have them leading our franchise," Irsay said in a statement. "I truly believe this football team is on the doorstep of great things, and that's because of the culture both have cultivated in their time with the Horseshoe."

Irsay, who constantly talks about winning multiple Super Bowls, gave an indication of Ballard's and Reich's contracts in March.

"I really believe that you will see a golden era develop as we go into this decade sitting here in 2021," Irsay said at the time. "I believe it with all my heart and soul. There is good reason to believe it. You talk to people around the league and people that know, they are going to agree with what I'm saying when they look at Chris Ballard and Frank Reich and the expectations going into this decade that we have for both of them leading the team."

Ballard replaced Ryan Grigson as general manager in February 2017. Reich was not even Ballard's first choice to be head coach. Reich didn't get in the mix for the job until Josh McDaniel reversed course and decided to return to New England as offensive coordinator after agreeing to be the Colts' head coach in February 2018. Ballard acknowledged later that he made a mistake by not putting Reich on the list of his initial head-coaching candidates.

Reich and Ballard's relationship has been strong because of their common vision on how a roster should be built while having the patience to see it through.

Rather than spend substantial money on free agents, Ballard has taken a patient approach to building the roster through the draft. Some of Ballard's notable draft picks have been guard Quenton Nelson, linebacker Darius Leonard, right tackle Braden Smith and running back Jonathan Taylor. Nelson has been named an All-Pro in each of his first three seasons in the NFL, while Leonard has been named to the All-Pro team twice.

Ballard and Reich have endured almost nonstop issues at quarterback. It started with Andrew Luck missing the 2017 season with a shoulder injury, then surprising everybody by retiring two years ago this month; now Carson Wentz is out five to 12 weeks with a left foot injury.

The Colts are 32-32 and have made the playoffs in two of four seasons under Ballard. Reich is 28-20 in three seasons with the Colts.