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Polian Disputes Report That Mudd And Moore Are Free To Return

On Tuesday, NFL Coaches Association Executive Director Larry Kennan told Chris Mortensen of ESPN that former Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd and former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore could follow their pension-grab retirements with a prompt return to the team as “consultants,” with the only limitation being a six-month waiting period before re-entering any of the team’s benefit plans.
While that might eventually be the case, the team has not yet concluded that this approach will work.
The source on the point is fairly trustworthy.  He’s Colts president and G.M. Bill Polian.
Earlier today, Polian told Adam Schein and Solomon Wilcots of Sirius NFL Radio’s The Sirius Blitz that the information from Kennan is incorrect.
Asked whether it’s Polian’s understanding that Mudd and Moore can return with only a no-benefits-for-six-months caveat, Polian said, “No it is not. . . . It has not been communicated to me in any way, shape, manner or form that has any resemblance to that statement.”
Polian also addressed what he needs to hear in order to agree with Kennan’s position.
“I need to hear from our corporate attorney who is right now interfacing with as many experts on ERISA law as he can find,” Polian said.  “And it is the ERISA law, that is an acronym for a federal law which governs pensions and pension plans.   He is interfacing with those people and trying to develop an understanding of what can and can’t be done.   He’s the guy that will ultimately guide us in making that call.”
We’ll reiterate the point we made Tuesday — this whole retire-and-return thing seems too good and too easy to be true.  And Kennan could be pushing the position that Mudd and Moore can return in part because Kennan possibly feels partially responsible for cajoling them into retiring, since for a while Kennan was selling the disingenuous notion that Mudd and Moore opted to walk away because of the recent decision to allow teams to opt out of the league-run pension plan.
Bottom line?  If there was anything good or easy about this arrangement, Mudd and Moore would be back on the job.   The fact that it’s taking so long suggests to us that the Colts’ lawyers have preliminarily concluded that they can’t return — and that they’re now trying to find a plausible pathway around that reality.

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7 Responses to “Polian Disputes Report That Mudd And Moore Are Free To Return”
  1. Darius_Heyward-Bey-Butterfingers says: May 27, 2009 11:41 PM

    Sorry Peyton, we misunderestimated this one.

  2. cheeseburger says: May 28, 2009 9:03 AM

    “since for a while Kennan was selling the disingenuous notion that Mudd and Moore opted to walk away”
    great sentence structure

  3. VaBthang4 says: May 28, 2009 9:24 AM

    “…for a while Kennan was selling the disingenuous notion that Mudd and Moore opted to walk away because of the recent decision to allow teams to opt out of the league-run pension plan.”
    Hai, that is precisely why they walked away. (/laughing at you)

  4. Mike Florio says: May 28, 2009 9:30 AM

    @vaBthang4 . . .
    actually, that’s not why they walked away. they wanted their pensions in a lump sum. the 2008 downturn in the stock market jeopardized their ability to do so after june 30, 2009. it had nothing to do with the opt-out issue, but larry kennan and others tried to jumble the two together in order to generate goodwill for the assistant coaches.
    because the issue is so complex, they were able to sell it for a while. but the truth eventually came out.

  5. BBrophy1 says: May 28, 2009 11:39 AM

    their pension money is their own business but I would love to know a ballpark figure of the amount that hangs in the balance here. I want to know how much money could be de-railing the Colts offense that has so much money invested in it. They are trying to install a new defense with a new head coach and new defensive coordinator and a QB who just turned 33. I would think that a bonus would help counter-act and balance the decision of these 2 to stay on while their window of opportunity for a championship is still open. they have enough hurdles without losing these 2 guys. witht he number of liberties Peyton takes in calling audibles, I think a new offensive coordinatro will either be intimidated by him or will refuse to take the job out of fear of being underminded.

  6. VaBthang4 says: May 28, 2009 11:51 AM

    @ Florio…
    LOL / Negative.
    You (your NFL ownership/management source) are willfully attempting to place the cart before the horse.
    The market has nothing (directly) to do with how and when they (specifically) could retire with a lump sum payment as high as it currently is. If the rules requiring owners to pay into the previous plan didnt change…the benefits would’ve remained the same.
    The ownership decision to allow individual clubs to opt out of the previous plan…and the knowledge that after a specific tipping point (enough owners opting out of that plan) their current benefits were at risk, is what forced their hand.
    If enough owners opt out, then the money supporting the plan decreases…thereby affecting future payouts. The teams themselves dont guarantee those payouts…the plan’s defined benefit rules do. You go away from the plan…you go away from the guaranteed defined benefits.
    The market downturn only affects the process (indirectly) from two standpoints:
    1. Being a motivating factor for owners to opt out (an unknowable variable) and go to a plan that benefits their bottomline.
    2. Affecting the return on contributions made by both owners and coaches participating in a new defined contribution plan.
    The overarching reality here is that the possibility of removing preset benefits translated into severe disadvantages for the Nest Eggs that both Moore & Mudd had built up during their careers. So (wisely) they pulled the trigger now….well before the June date…and well before enough teams pulled out with a simple press release and no heads up.
    I’d say nice try…but Bro, it really wasnt.

  7. VaBthang4 says: May 28, 2009 11:53 AM

    BBrophy1: Moore alone stood to lose somewhere near $2.45 Million had he not retired.

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