Earlier today, I referred to Howard Mudd as the Eagles most important free agent signing and I really believe that. While there's certainly some personnel issues on the offensive line that need to be dealt with, getting a guy with his track record to help rebuild a vitally important and incredibly disappointing part of your team is a big deal. When asked what brought him out of retirement in Arizona to Philadelphia, his answer was pretty simple.
"Andy Reid. I have known Andy for 22 years. He was a young assistant coach for Bob Stull at University of Missouri. He came over [when I was with the Chiefs] and wanted to know about what I did and why I did it and stuff like that. We spent a lot of time that one year there. I went over and spoke at their spring clinic and got to know him. Then he ends up leaving and Marty Mornhinweg was then the offensive line coach. He asked me if I would spend time. [Reid] was in Green Bay and we maintained contact. He's a really friendly guy and he liked what I did and would always ask me questions as we went through the years. We just maintained contact.
He reiterated that getting Mudd was a prerequisite for Juan Castillo being elevated to defensive coordinator.
When this thing shook down, I was kind of in a state of shock. I went, ‘What?' He called me and said, ‘Would you consider coming out of retirement?' He told me this whole story about the interview process with the defensive coordinator. I know Juan [Castillo] very well. He said this isn't going to work if we make this move if you don't come."
Mudd was asked what it will be like protecting a mobile guy like as opposed to a statue like Peyton Manning?
"I don't know, the last guy that I was in charge of protecting didn't have those characteristics (laughing). I don't think so, I don't think so. I think our responsibility is that there is a throwing spot back there and if he makes a decision to take off and run somewhere, that's his decision to make. Let's get the first spot protected and let him be comfortable at that spot, keep the pressure off him at that spot. If the guy gets loose, let's only make it one guy. If he can use his athleticism to make plays for some other reason, or if everyone is covered and he makes plays, we're going to protect one spot. If you start worrying about where he's going to go, you're going to grab a hold of somebody's shirt and you'll have a holding penalty. Let him do what he does and we'll do what we do."
Finally, we all know about his relationship with Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn, did he consult with his old pa about coming to Philadelphia?
"We consulted a lot about him coming to the Eagles. I was excited about him coming here and when all of that started shaking down, I actually had him call [former Eagles defensive line coach] Tommy Brasher, who is a good friend, so that he would have some comfort. When you talk to Andy professionally, you get this sense that he is a really excited guy and is he really believable? I wanted him to talk to Tommy for that reason. I was really involved with Wash when he was making the decision to come here. This other thing shook down a little bit later. I didn't really consult Wash because I didn't want to say anything [until it was in place]. It only really took about 12 hours or something like that."