Reuben Frank

Former Eagles OL coach Howard Mudd dies at age 78

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Former Eagles OL coach Howard Mudd dies at age 78

The 1964 NFL draft was held Dec. 2, 1963.

A week later Howard Mudd got a phone call.

"The 49ers mailed a letter to our athletic director (at Hillsdale College) letting them know they had drafted me and inviting me to training camp," Mudd told me in the summer of 2012. "Our AD opened his mail and called me, and that's how I found out I was drafted."

Mudd, the 49ers' 9th-round pick, went on to a brilliant playing career and a spectacular coaching career, including two years on Andy Reid’s staff with the Eagles. 

Mudd, considered one of the greatest offensive line coaches in NFL history, died on Wednesday, two weeks after a motorcycle accident in Seattle, his family announced through Mike Chappell of Fox 59 in Indianapolis. 

He was 78.

Mudd was a guard on the NFL’s team of the decade for the 1960s. He was only 28 when he retired after a serious knee injury.

He began his coaching career at Cal in 1972 and spent 1974 through 2012 as an offensive line coach with eight teams before retiring.

Mudd came out of retirement in February of 2019 to briefly serve as a senior offensive assistant with the Colts under former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who had worked with Mudd as an assistant with the Colts in 2008 and 2009. Mudd retired from that position in September.

Mudd's last full-time job was the Eagles' offensive line coach in 2011 and 2012. He came out of his first retirement to replace Juan Castillo after Castillo replaced current Bills head coach Sean McDermott as Eagles defensive coordinator.

"(Reid) said, 'I want you to consider coming out of retirement. Would you consider that?'" Mudd told Philly reporters after joining the Eagles in February of 2011. "I was kind of stumbling around for things to say and I said, 'I'm very flattered.' We talked and chatted. Andy is pretty persuasive. My daughter said, 'Dad you retired. You get to do anything you want.' I said, 'I want to go coach. That's what I do.'"

Jason Kelce was a rookie 6th-round pick in 2011, Mudd's first year with the Eagles. In a "Five Minutes with Roob" segment in 2017, Kelce recalled Mudd telling him to think like a starter:

"I definitely didn't have a mentality that I was going to be the starter, to tell you the truth," he said. "My mentality was just to go out there and compete and make the team and I think just do the best I can, and fortunately I had an offensive line coach who believed in me, Howard Mudd, and he taught me a bunch of techniques as an under-sized player that I could utilize at this level. I still remember having a conversation with him where he said, 'Do you want to play this year?' And at that point that wasn't really in my mind."

Here's a story Dave Zangaro wrote about Mudd in the fall of 2011, after Mudd had hip replacement surgery.

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Eagles QB coach Press Taylor back at work following quarantine

Eagles QB coach Press Taylor back at work following quarantine

Not only is Doug Pederson back at the NovaCare Complex, his quarterbacks coach is as well.

Press Taylor has returned to work after being quarantined following Pederson’s positive COVID test.

Because Taylor was in close quarters with Pederson, he was quarantined away from the NovaCare Complex until a series of tests came back negative and he showed no symptoms. 

As with players, it's up to the individual if he chooses to announce whether he actually had the virus or was simply quarantined for being around someone who did.

Although there is a COVID reserve list for players who either test positive or have been in close proximity to someone who has, there is no similar list for coaches, and NFL teams are under no obligation to announce when or if any coaches have either tested positive or have been quarantined without a positive test.

Pederson and Taylor were both sent home from work on Aug. 2. Pederson returned on Wednesday.

Two of the three Eagles who were placed on the COVID reserve list on July 29 - Nate Gerry and Lane Johnson - have returned to the team. That leaves third-year offensive tackle Jordan Mailata as the only known remaining player or coach not currently with the team.

Taylor joined the Eagles as one of Chip Kelly’s offensive quality control coaches in 2013. He became offensive quality control and assistant quarterbacks coach under Pederson in 2016, quarterbacks coach in 2018 and had the passing game coordinator tag added to his title this year.

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What keeps Jason Kelce feeling young going into his 10th season

What keeps Jason Kelce feeling young going into his 10th season

For Jason Kelce, training camp is just as much about bonding with teammates and getting to know the new guys as it is about getting out on the practice field and grinding.

So far this summer, the bonding part has been a lot harder than usual.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand all the parameters that are in place to keep things safe,” Kelce said Tuesday. “But that somewhat comes at the expense of the personal connections and the ability to talk to new guys and to forge relationships. It’s a little bit less so when somebody’s covering half their face with a mask.

You can always leave it to Kelce to put everything perfectly in perspective.

Kelce is beginning his 10th year with the Eagles and said he always feeds off the energy and passion that the younger guys on the team bring to the meeting rooms and practice field.

He makes a great point when he says how the Eagles’ 2019 season really turned around when those young guys were forced to start playing bigger roles. 

They were 5-7 and going nowhere with a largely veteran cast.

“As some of these young guys played, it almost felt like it really rejuvenated the whole team, especially at a point in the season when we were really trending in the wrong direction,” Kelce said. “All of a sudden these young guys come in, Greg Ward, Boston Scott, Miles Sanders turned it on. All these guys were really huge for us down the stretch. You always need balance. You need experience, you need energy, you need intelligence and you need some gusto and it’s really fun to work with these guys.”

Ward, Scott and Sanders were at the heart of the Eagles’ 4-0 finish that turned led to an NFC East title and a playoff berth.

GM Howie Roseman made a concerted effort to get younger this offseason, and despite late additions like Jason Peters and Vinny Curry, the Eagles have gone from the 3rd-oldest team in the NFL as of opening day last year to 11th-youngest today, according to Spotrac.

“Having young guys around really helps, to be honest with you,” Kelce said. “It really engages you. Having a guy who comes in and is playing in the NFL for the first time realizing his life’s ambitions and dreams coming to fruition for the first time, those guys naturally have a lot of energy, and I think that’s where balance in a team comes.”

Kelce turns 33 in November and is the 3rd-oldest player in the roster, behind Jason Peters (38) and DeSean Jackson (33). Only five others have hit 30.

The current 80-man roster has 29 players who are 23 or younger.

It’s all helping keep the three-time all-pro center feeling young as he continues to build on one of the great careers in Eagles history.

Kelce came into the NFL with Jaiquawn Jarrett, Casey Matthews, Fireman Danny and other guys who have long since faded into NFL oblivion.

“I’m really enjoying some of these guys, the new personalities that we have,” he said. “That does a good job of keeping you energized.”

And an energized Jason Kelce is very good news for the Eagles.

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More on the Eagles