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Howard Mudd, former All-Pro OL and longtime NFL assistant coach, passes away at 78

Howard Mudd, a former All-Pro lineman who coached in the NFL for 38 seasons, passed away Wednesday, his family announced. Mudd was surrounded by family after suffering multiple injuries from a motorcycle accident in late July. He was 78.

The Michigan native spent nearly 50 years in the NFL, breaking in as an offensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers in 1964 and wrapping up his playing career with the Chicago Bears in 1970. In-between, he was a member of the 1960s All-Decade team after making the Pro Bowl three times and All-Pro twice.

His work on the offensive line was just getting started, however. Mudd served as an O-line coach for the 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles. His 12-year tenure in Indianapolis was his longest, and it's where he helped the franchise win Super Bowl XLI.

Seven years after retiring from coaching in 2012, Mudd briefly returned to the Colts as a senior offensive assistant but stepped down just before the 2019 season.

"I have so much love and respect for Howard," Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters Wednesday. "I got my coaching break here with the Colts -- the one quick story that comes to mind is I was the offensive quality control (coach) and then I was the quarterback coach. So working with Peyton, I would have to go into Howard's office all the time to talk about the run game and things relevant to the quarterback. I remember going into his office one time and he had pushed me around one too many times verbally, I just finally lashed back out on him. It was a good lashing for me. ... I let him have it. After I was finished, he just started laughing and he said, I love that. That's what I love to see. He was just an old ball coach. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and Shirley [Mudd] -- just have a lot of love and respect for Howard Mudd."

Per his family, a celebration of Mudd's life will be held at a later date and, in lieu of flowers, they request a donation to a favorite charity or to Mudd's: Indianapolis Great Pyrenees Rescue.

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