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Offensive assistants Moore, Mudd return to Colts in old roles

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tom Moore and Howard Mudd decided not to follow Brett Favre's playbook.

They're coming back from retirement -- just in time for training camp.

The only offensive coordinator and offensive line coach three-time MVP Peyton Manning has worked with in his NFL career are expected to be on the field Monday when the Colts start practicing at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.

"Howard and Tom are both returning, doing the same job they've been doing over the years," new coach Jim Caldwell said on Friday.

Yes, they will have new titles.

Moore will be the senior offensive coordinator, Mudd the senior offensive line coach, but the titles are a reflection of the confusion and controversy that typified the Colts' strange offseason.

The 70-year-old Moore and 67-year-old Mudd were almost forced into retirement when the league changed its pension plan. Both feared they would lose money if they continued coaching. Team owner Jim Irsay called it a misunderstanding.

Though the team never made an official announcement about the retirements or the coaches' successors, team president Bill Polian told an Indianapolis radio station in May that assistant head coach Clyde Christensen would assume play-calling duties and assistant offensive line coach Pete Metzelaars would replace Mudd.

Irsay also said, at the same time, both would return to the franchise as consultants.

Confusion over the coaching staff and the consultants' roles then prompted Manning to publicly express frustration.

In late May, during minicamp, Manning said: "Somebody says one thing, then somebody else says another thing. I'm not sure everybody's on the same page in this building. I'm just trying to focus on playing quarterback well."

Less than two weeks later, Manning said the explanation he was given made him feel comfortable as the Colts moved forward.

But Irsay continued pressing Moore and Mudd to come back. On June 9, Irsay said he had reached agreements to bring both longtime assistants back with pay comparable to what they would have made as coaches. The implication was that they would continue in their old jobs.

Now, finally, it's official.

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"I think you realize, and I certainly want to make it public that Clyde Christensen and Pete Metzelaars did an outstanding job stepping in when Howard and Tom were away," Caldwell said. "They (Mudd and Moore) are going to be doing the same things they've been doing. The senior tag is added because of the fact that it gives a little latitude in case they want to delegate a few responsibilities, which have been going on anyway throughout the years."

Caldwell, the beneficiary of a preordained succession plan when Tony Dungy retired in January, now intends to use a similar structure to help make the eventual transition from Moore and Mudd to Christensen and Metzelaars.

"Clyde and Pete are in position kind of like I was with Tony," Caldwell said. "He (Dungy) would give me a few duties here and there to maybe lighten his load somewhat, but also to give me a little bit of familiarity with the position."

That makes the biggest question heading into training camp whether all of the Colts rookies will show up on time.

Players agents have confirmed four of the Colts eight draft picks have signed. The Indianapolis Star also has reported that quarterback Curtis Painter has agreed to a four-year deal. That leaves three players -- running back Donald Brown, a first-round pick; defensive tackle Fili Moala, a second-rounder; and receiver Austin Collie, a fourth-rounder -- trying to reach deals before Monday's opening practice.

Caldwell would only say that negotiations are progressing.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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