Howard Mudd won’t say whether he told Irsay the offensive line is fixed

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The headline from Colts owner Jim Irsay last week at a town-hall meeting for season-ticket holders emerged from his proclamation that he still expects the team to win plural Lombardi Trophies while Andrew Luck is the team’s quarterback. But something else he said raised even more eyebrows.

“Let me say this: the offensive line is fixed,” Irsay declared. “I’m telling you guys, the offensive line is fixed. The reason I’ll tell you it’s fixed is because [former longtime Colts offensive line coach] Howard Mudd told me it’s fixed. If Howard Mudd tells you it’s fixed, trust me, it’s fixed.”

This statement hinges on Mudd telling Irsay that the offensive line is fixed. Bob Kravitz of WTHR in Indianapolis asked Mudd whether he said that to Irsay.

“He said, ‘I don’t wanna talk about that,'” Kravitz said on Tuesday’s PFT Live. “I think being a guy with an IQ over 15 in my case, I would venture to guess that they never had this conversation — ever.”

Let that one sink in a bit. And now we’ll continue.

“[Mudd] did say that he talked to [G.M.] Chris Ballard briefly and said, ‘I like the potential of some of your young guys, especially Ryan Kelly and Joe Haeg,’” Kravitz said. “I don’t think he wanted to make Jim look bad by saying, ‘I never said that, I never talked to the guy.’ That was certainly my read on it. Why else would you say ‘I really don’t have a comment on that?’ I heard the comment. I don’t think they ever had that conversation, I think Jim was just being Jim.”

Whatever the reason or explanation for the outcome, Kravitz believes Irsay based his claim regarding the status of the offense on a conversation that never happened. Which serves only to underscore the challenges that Ballard and coach Chuck Pagano will be facing as they try to build and prepare within the confines of reality a football program whose owner’s views and expectations may not be so constrained by those same boundaries of what is and isn’t real.