Longtime OL coach Mudd dies at 78
Longtime NFL offensive line coach Howard Mudd died Wednesday, two weeks after he suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. He was 78.
Since the accident, Mudd had been hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He sustained pelvic and spinal injuries in the crash.
Mudd’s family announced his death on Mudd’s page on the CaringBridge website.
“We want to share that yesterday we (as a family) made the decision to focus care on providing Howard the most comfort,” the statement begins. “Right after the accident he fought so hard against all odds to communicate to us that he loves us and that he knows we love him. Yesterday, it became clear that he was ready and that we needed to surround him with love and fight for his right to comfort and peace.
“This morning he was surrounded in the room by his sons (Darren and Adam) who held his arms and prayed over him as he passed away.
“Howard deeply loved and enjoyed his many friends and family. Please honor Howard today and every day by sharing a belly laugh with a loved one, or telling a stupid joke, or calling up a friend to tell them you are thinking of them.”
Mudd played on the offensive line with the San Francisco 49ers (1964-69) and Chicago Bears (1969-70) before retiring in 1971. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade Team for the 1960s.
He served as the offensive line coach for seven NFL teams but is best known as the architect of the line that protected Peyton Manning with the Indianapolis Colts, where he coached from 1998 to 2009. He was an adviser to the Colts in the 2019 preseason.
Manning’s thoughts on the O-line coach who taught those who protected him was shared by the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday.
“In my opinion, Howard Mudd was the best offensive line coach in NFL history,” Manning said in a tweet posted by the Colts. “I would put him on that pedestal any day of the week … He will be missed many. I know so many like me are grateful to have played for him.”
Colts owner Jim Irsay also remembered Mudd on Twitter.
“Rest in peace, Howard Mudd,” Irsay tweeted. “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.”
One of Manning’s favorite targets, and another vital cog of those Colts teams, Reggie Wayne issued his own thoughts on Twitter.
“Tough day for the @Colts family. Lost a great one today,” Wayne tweeted. “Coach Howard Mudd had a way to motivate you no matter what your position was. I appreciate him being a huge part of my journey. Not just what he was as a great coach but more for being a great person. #RIPCoachMudd”
The Philadelphia Eagles, who Mudd coached for from 2011-12, also passed along their condolences on social media.
“Howard’s legendary football career, which spanned nearly five decades as a player and coach, impacted the lives of so many individuals, including coaches, players, and staff,” the post read, in part. “He will be dearly missed by the football community, but his legacy and his influence on the game will carry on for years to come.”
–Field Level Media