Polian: Christensen will take over Colts' offensive coordinator post

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts used one succession plan to replace Tony Dungy. Now, new coach Jim Caldwell is implementing his own succession plan to complete his staff.

Team president Bill Polian told an Indianapolis radio station on Friday that assistant head coach Clyde Christensen will become the new offensive coordinator and Pete Metzelaars will take over as offensive line coach following the retirements of Tom Moore and Howard Mudd.

Stepping in

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Colts team president Bill Polian said on Friday that Clyde Christensen and Pete Metzelaars will assume new duties with the team, filling key departures.

Clyde Christensen

New post: Off. coordinator

Old post: Asst. head coach/WRs

NFL coaching exp.: 13

Pete Metzelaars

New post: OL coach

Old post: Off. quality/OL asst.

NFL coaching exp.: 5

"The main cogs in terms of operating the program are in place, have been in place and we're prepared to do this," Polian told 1070 The Fan during a morning radio program. "It does not come as a shock to us. It's just a transition that we would rather not have made, but we knew full well that it was likely we were going to have to."

The team has made no official announcement about the changes, and Polian didn't respond to an interview request from The Associated Press.

Shuffling staff members in May is unusual, but when NFL owners approved changes to the coaches' pension plan earlier this year, 67-year-old Mudd and 70-year-old Moore were almost forced into retiring. Otherwise, they would have lost some of their retirement benefits.

The retirements are the latest in a line of offseason changes, but these two moves could have the most dramatic effect on the Colts' offense.

Moore is the only offensive coordinator that three-time MVP Peyton Manning has ever played for in the NFL and has a long history of coaching Hall of Fame-caliber players and directing productive NFL offenses.

Moore coached wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth during the Pittsburgh Steelers' dynasty in the late 1970s, and wide receiver Cris Carter in Minnesota. In 1994, Moore left the Vikings for the Detroit Lions and helped produce a 1,000-yard rusher in Barry Sanders and the first set of teammates to ever catch 100 passes in a season -- Herman Moore and Brett Perriman.

In Indianapolis, Moore's teams often ranked among league leaders in points, produced 1,000-yard runners and a passing attack that was among the league's best.

Mudd also had a distinguished career that started in San Diego and took him to San Francisco, Seattle, Cleveland and Kansas City before he came to Indianapolis. He constructed a Colts offensive line that annually ranked among the league leaders in protecting the quarterback.

Both coaches joined the Colts in 1998, Manning's rookie season.

"It is a very sad situation where economic issues and procedural issues, to some extent, forced them to take this action," Polian said. "We will miss them greatly. They're terrific guys, they're good friends, they're legendary coaches."

The transition might not be as challenging as it appears.

Christensen joined the Colts as a receivers coach in 2002, staying on Dungy's staff after six seasons in Tampa Bay. He also served as the Buccaneers' offensive coordinator in 2001, and he has now had seven seasons to learn Moore's system.

Caldwell also followed Dungy from Tampa Bay to Indianapolis in 2002, and he was promoted to assistant head coach in 2005 and associate head coach last year before replacing Dungy in January. Caldwell coached Manning during all three MVP seasons.

Metzelaars has been on the Colts' staff the last five seasons. He has served as Mudd's assistant on the offensive line and replaced Mudd for two weeks last season when the coach had surgery to ease the pain from a previous hip replacement procedure.

Metzelaars spent 16 seasons in the NFL with Seattle, Buffalo, Carolina and Detroit, during part of Moore's tenure with the Lions.

Still, losing Mudd and Moore is a hit Polian didn't want to take -- especially after making a host of other changes this offseason.

Besides Dungy's retirement and Caldwell's promotion, the Colts have new defensive and special teams coordinators. In February, they released Marvin Harrison, the franchise's career receiving leader, and last week, they announced that the jobs of their longtime player personnel director and several others in the scouting department were eliminated in restructuring.

Now, the Colts must replace two more cornerstones.

"They're the best at what they do, and we will miss them greatly, but we were prepared for this to happen," Polian said. "We've been dealing with this almost since Feb. 1. We will have a smooth transition, but we will miss them greatly."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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