Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Jim Irsay says Tom Moore retired
INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Irsay is staying busy during the NFL lockout.
Veteran offensive assistant Tom Moore has retired. Two other front office people are leaving, too, and the owner of the Indianapolis Colts has decided to keep training camp at Anderson University -- if there is a camp.
Word of Moore's retirement came Wednesday, one day after Irsay said Peyton Manning had undergone a second surgery on his neck.
Team officials had removed Moore's name from the coaching staff listed on the team website and he reportedly met with Tennessee officials about the offensive coordinator's job. The Jets also reportedly invited Moore to New York to discuss their red-zone offense.
"He's just at a point where it's extremely stressful physically," Irsay told The Associated Press. "It's been pretty taxing the last couple of years and he's at a point where he's worn out and tired at the end of the year."
Given Moore's recent history, he could come back. Again.
Two years ago, in May, he and then-offensive line coach Howard Mudd both announced they were retiring after league owners changed the NFL's pension plan. Less than a month later, both returned to the team.
Irsay, for one, isn't ruling it out.
"At this point, in talking with him, he is retired," Irsay said. "But he's on the fence a little."
The 72-year-old Moore started his coaching career in 1961 at Iowa, his alma mater. After stops at Dayton, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, Moore landed at the University of Minnesota coaching a little-known quarterback, Tony Dungy.
In 1977, Moore and Dungy both started their NFL careers with the Pittsburgh Steelers -- Moore as the receivers coach, Dungy as a defensive back.
Moore won two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers, then was promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1983. In 1990, he took over as offensive coordinator with the Vikings. After four seasons in Minnesota, Moore moved to Detroit and he constructed one of the league's most dynamic offenses.
In those three seasons with the Lions, Barry Sanders ran for nearly 5,000 yards and Detroit became the first team in league history to have two receivers with 100 receptions.
He went to New Orleans in 1997, then joined the Colts as their offensive coordinator in 1998 -- the same year Manning was the No. 1 overall pick.
Moore was the only offensive coordinator Manning ever worked with in the NFL until he relinquished the play-calling duties and title of offensive coordinator to Clyde Christensen last season. Moore stayed as the team's senior offensive assistant.
"With Tom, it's really a situation where I probably see him going into retirement with the idea he might do something with us or someone else in the future," Irsay said. "He's such a competitive guy, I think Tom feels good about the transition. I think he's a little torn. He embraces retirement some, but I wouldn't rule out a comeback."
Moore isn't the only one leaving the organization.
Clyde Powers, the director of pro player personnel, and Marty Heckscher, the team video director, also have retired, Irsay said. Both were longtime members of the Colts' front office. Several key front-office people also have left in recent years, including Dom Anile, who worked closely with Bill Polian on the Colts' draft picks.
As for training camp for a second straight year in Anderson, Irsay did not say whether there was a deadline to have a new collective bargaining agreement in place to make that decision. Anderson city officials estimated last year's camp pumped about $6 million into the local economy.
"We're prepared to go up to Anderson. We're ready," Irsay said. "Right now the plan is to be there and have training camp there."
If the labor strife drags on, however, and camp is condensed, Irsay said the team could move workouts back to the team's complex on the city's west side.
That's not what he wants to do, though.
"I hope we don't see a 10-day camp or something like that," he said.