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Longtime Colts OL coach Howard Mudd dies at 78 after motorcycle accident

Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Howard Mudd, the legendary offensive line coach of the Indianapolis Colts, has died, the team announced Wednesday. He was 78.

Mudd was critically injured in a motorcycle accident July 29. He spent the past two weeks in a Seattle hospital with multiple injuries, including a fractured spine and pelvis.

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"We want to share that [Tuesday] we [as a family] made the decision to focus care on providing Howard the most comfort," the Mudd family said in a statement Wednesday. "Right after the accident he fought so hard against all odds to communicate to us that he loves us and that he knows we love him.

"[Tuesday], it became clear that he was ready and that we needed to surround him with love and fight for his right to comfort and peace. This morning he was surrounded in the room by his sons [Darren and Adam] who held his arms and prayed over him as he passed away."

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Colts owner Jim Irsay praised Mudd on social media, calling him one of the best offensive line coaches in league history.

"Rest in peace, Howard Mudd. Howard was a great player during a shortened career and then became one of the game's all-time greatest offensive line coaches," Irsay wrote on Twitter. "He contributed to many different teams over 47 years in our league -- but he will always be a Colt #LoveYouHoward."

Former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning echoed Irsay's comments, saying Mudd will be greatly missed.

"In my opinion, Howard Mudd was the best offensive line coach in NFL history," Manning said in a statement. "I would put him on that pedestal any day of the week. ... He will be missed by many. I know so many like me are grateful to have played for him."

The San Francisco 49ers selected Mudd in the ninth round of the 1964 NFL Draft out of Michigan State. He played with the Niners until 1969, when he joined the Chicago Bears for his final two seasons.

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Mudd, whose career was shortened because of a knee injury, was named to two All-Pro teams and the 1960s All-Decade team. He also was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Mudd began his coaching career as the offensive line coach at the University of California in 1972. He then moved to the NFL, where he coached with the Colts (twice), then-San Diego Chargers, 49ers, Seattle Seahawks (twice), Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.

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He had his most success as the Colts' offensive line coach. Under Mudd, the Colts kept Manning upright and played in two Super Bowls -- winning one in Feb. 2007.

Mudd briefly served as a senior offensive assistant with the Colts on head coach Frank Reich's staff in 2019 before stepping away from football.

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Richard Thornburgh
Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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