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.
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. He contributed to many different teams over 47 years in our league---but he will always be a Colt. #LoveYouHoward— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) August 12, 2020
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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