AFC South: Larry Kennan
- Jerome Solomon says Steve Slaton is working hard to avoid a sophomore slump.
- Once a K.C. fan favorite from his role on "Hard Knocks," Boomer Grigsby is looking to lock up the Texans' No. 2 fullback job, says Megan Manfull.
- Chris Brown has looked good in OTAs, reports Brooke Bentley of texans.com. The injury-prone Brown needs to be healthy in the fall and winter, not the spring and summer.
- If Tom Moore and Howard Mudd pay their own taxes for the next six months, they can return as consultants right away. That's the newest from Larry Kennan, executive director of the NFL coaches' association, according to Mike Chappell. (But this story has new wrinkles every day and many of them seem to come apart.)
- Ed Johnson is looking to prove himself again, says Mike Chappell.
- Johnson had been in contact with Jim Caldwell during his season out of the league, says John Oehser.
- Caldwell is on Clark Judge's list of the top 10 difference makers of 2009.
- Bill Polian has Caldwell's back, says John Czarnecki.
- Peyton Manning tries to have small-scale sessions with two pass catchers each day, says Oehser at Colts.com.
- Former Jag wide receiver Matt Jones won't be suspended at the start of the season, reports Chris Mortensen. This could prompt a team to give him a look.
- A Q&A with longtime trainer and physical therapist Mike Ryan, from jaguars.com.
- Nick Harper is working his way back after abdominal surgery, writes Terry McCormick.
Here's more from Chris Mortensen on how confusion over changes to the league's pension plan prompted Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd to retire and have offensive coordinator Tom Moore ready to follow Mudd's lead.
NFC West maven Mike Sando also did some nice follow-up reporting Wednesday examining the pension issues that helped prompt those decisions.
Interesting line in Sando's blog entry from Coaches Association head Larry Kennan about the possibility of coaches retiring to collect lump sum pensions, and then returning in a year. Mudd, 67 and dealing with back issues, and Moore, 70, might be less likely to follow that course than some of their colleagues.
I would think any coach at or beyond 65 with significant service time in the league is consulting with his accountant and considering his options.
I only found three other assistant coaches in the division who look to have the combination of age and NFL coaching experience that might land them in this category:
Houston running back coach Chick Harris, 63
Indianapolis linebackers coach Mike Murphy, 64
Jacksonville special teams coach Russ Purnell, 60.
Houston assistant head coach/ offense Alex Gibbs, 68, doesn't fal linto this category, according to Mortensen's report, because he "met the league formula for cashing out fully on his pension, only to be hired back as a $800,000 to $1 million consultant." Gibb was an Atlanta Falcons consultant in 2005 and 2006 and was out of the league in 2007.
The Titans oldest assistant coach, defensive line coach Jim Washburn, will only turn 60 in December and has only 10 seasons in the league.