Dungy on decision: 'Ready to move forward on Monday one way or the other'

Updated: January 14, 2008, 7:46 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Tony Dungy, as expected, said he and his wife will mull over their options and Dungy's future as coach of the Indianapolis Colts, with a decision to be reached by next week.

"My wife and I will sit down and evaluate this week and talk about it, talk it through,'' he said during his media availability Monday afternoon at the Colts' complex. "We'll probably do a lot of praying about what we want to do.

"We'll probably come to some decision this weekend and be ready to move forward on Monday one way or the other.''

Dungy's sixth season as coach of the Colts came to a close with a 28-24 AFC divisional playoff loss Sunday to the San Diego Chargers.

Speculation arose recently that Dungy might decide to retire, after reports surfaced that his children had returned to their home in Tampa, Fla., and enrolled in school there. Dungy, 52, always has maintained he would take some time after the playoffs to think about his future before making any decision.

Dungy clearly is torn.

"I still enjoy it very much," he said moments after addressing the players for the final time this season. "I love coming to work. I'm not burned out at all. All those things I feel really are positive.

"On the other side of the coin, I've done it a long time. I need to be a good dad and need to make sure I have the energy to devote to both jobs. I don't want to shortchange the Colts, and certainly don't want to shortchange my family."

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, sources said Dungy had met last Friday with Colts owner Jim Irsay to discuss Dungy's future, with Irsay and general manager Bill Polian presenting several options that would allow Dungy to spend more time with his family and away from the team during the offseason.

Sources said Irsay was willing to allow Dungy use of his private jet to take the coach back and forth to Tampa to enjoy specific family events, such as son Eric's high school football games on Friday nights.

Irsay reiterated after the game Sunday, "Tony knows how much I want him to stay ... Anything that can make it easier, and have him come back and forth in the offseason or anything like that, I think that's possible."

Dungy signed a three-year contract extension in September 2005, a deal intended to keep him with the Colts through 2009. But he also has considered retiring each of the previous two seasons.

Dungy will always be remembered for the grace and strength he showed when his 18-year-old son, James, committed suicide in December 2005. He said Monday that James' death will not be a factor in his decision about coaching longer or retiring.

"It's just really making sure I am doing the best job I can do as a dad," he said, referring to his four children still living with the family in Tampa, Fla., and one daughter not living at home. "I do think that is my No. 1 job, and if [I] do that and can still do enough to be a good coach for the Colts, if I am doing that, I'll be back."

And if he's not?

"Hopefully he comes back," linebacker Gary Brackett said. "At the same time, we have go to recognize what decision he makes comes from the bottom of his heart, and we've got to respect that decision."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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