NFL

Howard Mudd, Legendary Offensive Lineman and Colts Coach, Dead at 78 After Motorcycle Accident

The football world is mourning the loss of Howard Mudd, a legendary player and offensive line coach.

Mudd, 78, played seven NFL seasons. He later coached from 1972-2012 before he returned to work with Quinton Nelson and the Colts last year.

Mudd was best known for his role on the Peyton Manning-era Colts. From 1998-2009, the Indianapolis Colts were among the NFL’s best teams and consistently fielded a stellar offensive line.

Here’s more on Mudd and what he meant to the NFL.

Howard Mudd was an All-Pro offensive lineman

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Born in Midland, Mich., Howard Mudd attended Hillsdale College, a private school in Michigan.

The San Francisco 49ers selected the 6-foot-2, 254-pound Mudd in the ninth round of the 1964 NFL draft.

Although he got a late start on the decade, Mudd nonetheless earned all-decade honors. Mudd made the Pro Bowl every year from 1966-68 and received All-Pro recognition in the final two seasons.

Mudd joined the Chicago Bears midway through the 1969 season. A knee injury forced his retirement in 1970.

Mudd later became a legendary assistant coach

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Howard Mudd began his coaching career in 1972. For comparison, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay was 14 years away from being born at that time.

Mudd served as the California Bears’ offensive line coach from 1972-73. He jumped to the NFL and held the same role with the Chargers from 1974-1976.

After a year with the 49ers, Mudd coached the Seahawks’ offensive line from 1978-1982. He bounced around the league for various teams until the Colts hired him after the 1997 season.

Mudd’s arrival in Indianapolis coincided with Peyton Manning’s Colts debut. Fittingly, the two formed a partnership which led to one of the greatest offenses in NFL history.

Mudd coached the Colts’ offensive line from 1998-2009. Indianapolis made two Super Bowls in that span and won the Big Game in February 2007.

The Colts allowed 218 sacks in 182 games across those 12 years. Mudd retired after the Colts lost Super Bowl 44.

Mudd returned to the NFL in 2011 and coached the Eagles’ offensive line for two years. He spent part of last year as the Colts’ senior offensive assistant but he stepped down on September 6.

The football world mourned Howard Mudd’s death

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Two weeks after he suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, Mudd died August 12.

Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted his condolences to the Mudd family.

“Howard was a GREAT player during a shortened career and then became one of the game’s all-time greatest offensive line coaches. He contributed to many different teams over 47 years in our league—but he will always be a Colt. #LoveYouHoward”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians paid tribute to Mudd, who he coached alongside in Indianapolis from 1998-2000. The two also worked together in Kansas City from 1989-92.

“I learned so much from you Coach, from being a college coach to an NFL coach,” Arians wrote. “You taught me how that was done. You were a great mentor and better friend. You will be missed!! RIP Howard Mudd.”

ESPN analyst Louis Riddick tweeted Mudd, “commanded respect and was always willing to teach. Condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Former Colts punter Pat McAfee, who now works for Barstool Sports, called Mudd “awesome.”

“A badass offensive line coach who was way too nice, when he didn’t have to be, to a young dumb punter,” McAfee tweeted. “Rest Easy Coach.”

Peyton Manning called Mudd the “best offensive line coach in NFL history.

“I would put him on that pedestal any day of the week,” Manning said. “He will be missed by many. I know so many like me are grateful to have played for him.”

According to the Colts’ website, Mudd’s family is planning to hold a celebration of life service will be held at a later date.

The Mudd family is “asking those interested in donating to their favorite cause or Mudd’s favorite charity: the Indianapolis Great Pyrenees Rescue,” according to the Colts.

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