Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd has told the team he is retiring immediately because of changes to the NFL's pension program, ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting. Offensive coordinator Tom Moore is also affected by the changes in the pension plan and had been considering retirement.
Mudd and Moore have both been with the Colts since 1998, Peyton Manning's rookie season, and Manning has often cited the stability of the offensive coaching staff as a reason for the Colts' success. That stability was seen as particularly important heading into the 2009 season, with Jim Caldwell replacing Tony Dungy as head coach. Mortensen reports that the Colts are still holding out hope that they can continue that stability:
"It's a dilemma we're trying to work through," said Bill Polian, the team's president and general manager. "I don't think Howard has turned in his [retirement] papers yet but it's a difficult situation and a very personal choice for Howard."But a revision to the pension plan that the owners passed in March has Mudd convinced that he has to take a lump-sum payment now or risk losing a substantial portion of the pension he has earned, and Mudd will apparently do that.
And although there's no word that Moore is planning to follow suit, he is affected by the same changes to the pension plan as Mudd. And both Moore and Mudd were already pondering retirement before this change to the pension plan. So it stands to reason that Moore would be considering it now as well.
All in all, this sounds like it could turn into a big mess for the Colts. Maybe it's time for Colts owner Jim Irsay to get out his checkbook and make it worth his assistants' while to stay.