The Indianapolis Colts underwent a lot of change to their coaching staff this offseason, and those new coaches are busy working in OTAs with their team in an effort to improve for the 2016 season.
There's another coach who is a part of the team's offseason programs, however, as he learns more about American football: Mutsumi Takahashi.
A former linebacker, Takahashi is the only Japanese-born player to ever play in the Arena Football League, where he played five years (according to Colts Roundup's Heather Lloyd). He also played at the highest level of Japanese football and now coaches the Kobe University Ravens in Japan.
In 2014, he was at the Pro Bowl, where he met Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who was the coach of one of the team's in that year's all-star game. And that led to Takahashi being in Indianapolis, attending the Colts' offseason workouts as a guest coach continuing to learn more about American football and bridging the gap with the NFL.
"We met back at the Pro Bowl back in 2014," Pagano explained on Tuesday. "We had to go over there as a consolation prize as a staff, we get to take our families over there. He was a guest coach. Mutsumi has played arena football in the United States for two or three years. I don’t know if you got a shot of him out there, but he’s a linebacker, DB, kicker, he’s done it all. He coaches football now over in Japan. We stayed in contact ever since the Pro Bowl. He was really my Assistant Head Coach over there. We got to spend the whole week together over there and we stayed in contact like I said.
"He wanted an opportunity to come over here and continue to learn American football and hone his skills and take that back and just grow as a coach," Pagano continued. "He’s a really, really good person and a great man. He brought his son with him. It’s a great opportunity for us to open our doors and help somebody like Mutsumi learn the American game and be able to take that back as part of the NFL’s initiative to spread the good news, if you will, about the National Football League.”
His goal, according to Heather Lloyd, is to bridge that gap between the NFL and Japan, and so it's an awesome opportunity for him to be able to be with the Colts this offseason. Hopefully, that helps him make progress in his efforts to bridge that gap and continue bringing football to Japan.