The Colts apparently will benefit from the influence of longtime assistants Tom Moore and Howard Mudd this season, after all. However, this time they will fill roles as consultants, rather than coaches.
Colts owner Jim Irsay said at the NFL's spring owners meetings Wednesday that he planned to bring Moore and Mudd back in consultant roles.
"We don't have any signed agreements, but I do believe all parties feel Tom and Howard would play significant roles for us moving forward and they would be consultants,'' Irsay said in a telephone interview with The Indianapolis Star. "They not only would be a major part of what we're trying to do in '09, but they'd continue to mentor and tutor some of the other coaches.''
Moore, who had been the team's offensive coordinator, and Mudd, who was the team's offensive line coach, retired last week to avoid losing pension benefits under the NFL's revised plan.
It is unclear when the two former coaches could return to the Colts.
The team would like the two coaches to return as paid consultants by Aug. 1. However, Larry Kennan, executive director of the NFL Coaches Association, said that Moore and Mudd would have to sit out six months from the time they file retirement papers. That would mean the earliest they could be back would be November.
It is possible however, that Moore and Mudd could return before November in an unpaid consultants role until they are able to be added to the team's payroll. However, the Colts believe that the two former assistants can return as paid consultants by Aug. 1, the Star reported.
"The goal's going to be to get these guys back in training camp and get them ready for the year and have them play a serious role," Irsay told the newspaper.
The Colts turned the play-calling duties over to Clyde Christensen, the assistant head coach, and promoted Pete Metzelaars to offensive line coach.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.