Dungy will wait until after season to decide on coaching future

INDIANAPOLIS -- Coach Tony Dungy doesn't want to talk about retirement yet.

Dungy, who has considered leaving football each of the past two years, acknowledged Thursday he would talk with his wife and Indianapolis officials about his future when the Colts' season ends.

The 52-year-old Dungy signed a three-year contract extension in September 2005, a deal intended to keep him with the Colts through 2009.

But he has considered leaving football before.

He waited one week after the 2005 season to announce he would return when some speculated he might retire to spend more time with his family following the death of his 18-year-old son, James. Last year after leading the Colts to their first Super Bowl title in more than three decades, Dungy again briefly considered retirement.

And he's ready to follow the same decision-making process again this season.

"I'll sit down with my wife and talk it through and then talk to (owner) Jim (Irsay) and (president) Bill (Polian), like I do every year," Dungy said. "And then we'll take a look at it."

Since winning the Super Bowl, Dungy has become more involved in life away from football.

A longtime supporter of charitable groups such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and All-Pro Dads, Dungy wrote a best-selling memoir, "Quiet Strength", which now has 1 million copies in print. He also was appointed to the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Dungy has said in the past he never intended to be a "lifer" in football and that he initially planned to retire by the time he was 50. But when he announced his return as Colts coach in February, Dungy said he still had the passion to continue coaching.

Colts players say they've seen no indication Dungy intended to leave.

"He's not said anything and I certainly hope not," Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday said.

Dungy is 127-65 in 12 seasons as a head coach, finishing his six-year career in Tampa Bay as the franchise's winningest coach. He is the only Colts coach to get double-digit victory totals and earn playoff berths in six straight seasons. He led the Buccaneers to the NFC championship game in 1999 and has been to the AFC championship game twice with the Colts, following the 2003 and 2006 seasons.

In 2007, the Colts became the first team in league history to win at least 12 games in five consecutive years, and Indy has won five straight AFC South titles. Dungy also has been an assistant coach with Minnesota, Kansas City and Pittsburgh and spent three seasons in the late '70s playing for the Steelers and San Francisco 49ers.

Indy's quest to repeat as Super Bowl champs begins Sunday when the San Diego Chargers visit for a divisional-round game that could mark the final time Indy plays in the RCA Dome. The new Lucas Oil Stadium, a retractable-roof dome, opens next season.

Dungy's assistant head coach, Jim Caldwell, also has become a regular on the interview circuit. He met with the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens about their openings last week and interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals last year.

Earlier this week, Dungy endorsed Caldwell for those jobs, saying he was ready to become a head coach.

"Anybody who talks to Jim is going to come away impressed," Dungy said Wednesday. "They will realize how thorough he is. If they talk to any of our players, they're going to know what type of communicator he is, so there's no question in my mind he made a great impression."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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