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Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Mudd's situtation differs from NFC West norm

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Howard Mudd's expected retirement over pension-related concerns threatens to remove from the game one of the finest offensive line coaches in NFL history.

Mudd, with the Colts since 1998, has NFC West ties to the 49ers (1977) and Seahawks (1993-1997). He is 67 years old and worried that changes to the NFL pension program for non-players would compromise his financial situation if he remained in the game.

Chris Mortensen: Mudd, 67, believes he has to take his entire lump-sum pension payment now because if he does not exercise that right at 65 under the revised plan, he will be allowed only to accept annuity payments upon retirement that will be reduced to 50 percent value for his immediate survivors if he dies, according to sources.

NFC West coaching staffs have gotten younger recently. Only a handful of assistants are in their 60s, including Rams quarterbacks coach Dick Curl (69), Seahawks defensive assistant Larry Marmie (66), 49ers receivers coach Jerry Sullivan (64), 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye (63) and Seahawks special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven (60).

Mortensen's story says Colts president Bill Polian is working toward a resolution for Mudd. Mudd's situation differs from those of most NFL assistants because he has served as an assistant for so long (36 years). Curl is older than Mudd, but his NFL experience dates only to 2003. Sullivan has been an NFL assistant since 1992. Marmie joined the NFL ranks in 1996. Raye has coached in the NFL since 1977, while DeHaven's NFL career dates to 1987.

Update: I've spoken with Larry Kennan of the NFL Coaches Association and he has some additional information on this.