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Colts Players Past And Present Flock To Canton For Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison

Intro: Canton, Ohio looked like a mid-2000 Colts game on Saturday night. What did the former Colts think of Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison heading into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?


CANTON, Ohio. – It was the reunion, before the reunion.

In November, the Colts will honor the 10-year Super Bowl XLI anniversary in a game versus the Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On Saturday night, Canton, Ohio looked like something we will see in a few months.

With Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Colts were out in droves to honor two of the game's greats.

From Bob Sanders to Peyton Manning and Robert Mathis, it was a can’t miss event for former (and current) Colts.

Peyton Manningwill be inducted into Canton five years from now. On Saturday, Manning was a spectator for two men he respects so much.

"The chance to play for Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison are two of the great thrills of my football career. I wouldn't have missed this opportunity to be here and see them get inducted.

"Football is a relationship business. As you heard Coach Dungy tonight, he encouraged those relationships and he encouraged you to get involved into the community. Everybody bought into that and it's really special to be here with this great group of alums tonight."

Edgerrin Jamescould very well have his own day in Canton. This year, James was his joyful self in reconnecting with so many familiar faces.

"It's always great to catch up with everybody. Especially on a day like this, this is the dream. The dream is to make it into the Hall of Fame. To see Tony and Marv go in is great for the city of Indianapolis, great for everybody that played during that era and on those teams.

"Marv just outworked everybody and did everything it took. Marv is really tough. People don't realize at his size, how tough Marv is. Marv is super tough and handled things every week, straight professional about it.

"Coach Dungy is the man. He's a father figure to so many players, so many people who came through the NFL. He understands what it's like to be a player. He was able to make it easier on the player because he's been in that position and he's just a great guy. He's never changed. He's always had that cool, calm demeanor that everybody respects and everybody wanted to play hard for Coach Dungy."

Bob Sandersremains a beloved player by fans across the nation. Sanders brought his entire family to Canton, including four kids all under the age of five.

"I love Indy. I (still) own the original place that I bought in 2004. I'm in and out. People don't see me very often, but now we are living out west. I love Indy. The fans, they know I love them dearly.

"I will definitely be there in November. I want to bring all my family. Hopefully we can get all our families together because a lot of the guys didn't have kids when we were playing during that time, but now we all have kids. We all have families. That will be an exciting time. Some of the memories I have are very, very dear to my heart. I remember the story of when Jeff Saturday came into the huddle that year and said, 'It's our time.' Just knowing that it was 'Our time.' And when Jeff said that it felt good and it felt right. It felt like the perfect moment. We took that all the way. We had a lot of ups and downs but like Dungy always said, 'You never get too high. You never get too low.' You always try to stay in the middle. That's what he did and that's what he taught us. During our season, we kept that the whole way and we ended up winning so it was a great time for us."

Robert Mathisarrived in Ohio on Saturday afternoon via the Colts' team charter. With the Colts playing the Hall of Fame on Sunday, Mathis got his Canton fix in early on Saturday by attending the induction ceremony.

"It feels like a family reunion to be quite honest," Mathis said on Saturday. "These are guys that I come up in the game with for years. They are the guys that really taught me the ropes so I'm in a good place right now."

Jeff Saturdayand many former Colts' offensive linemen were in Canton. The group was even joined by former position coach Howard Mudd.

"What Marvin meant to my career, he taught me how to practice. (Jim) Irsay said it exactly how he said it. 'They pay to me practice. I play for free.' Every day (Harrison) showed up, set the tempo and set the tone for what it's going to be like. He wanted to dominate no matter when it was.

"Tony, obviously the impact he had, not only as a coach, but as a mentor and a leader and to how be a father, and a husband, you can't put it into words how impactful he's been in my life. To be here, to be able to celebrate with our guys and celebrate these two men, this is what it's all about."

Dallas Clark made so many critical plays on the Colts' run to Super Bowl XLI. On Saturday, Clark was back with his teammates.

"It's an honor just to be a small part of these two great men and there great careers. Coach Dungy, unbelievable and so well deserved. Being able to share the field and be a teammate of Marv is a true honor.

"Just to be able to kind of reflect and kind of reminisce with all the old teammates and coaches, it's a special night."

Derrick Brooksplayed for Dungy in Tampa and know joins him again in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"First and foremost the values. As I said before, when you're in the business of football and you go about in the manner that you understand that you've got to be a leader in your community, you've got to have character and integrity and believe in those values, that equals winning for everybody. I think those things he instilled in me is, God's work in my life is bigger than the game of football."

Warren Sapp,* *like Brooks, played for Dungy in Tampa Bay and couldn't be happier to see his former head coach join him in Canton.

"If you can find anyone who has said something bad about him, I want to see them. Whenever you talk about the man, it's just a glowing resume, a glowing experience. Anytime you are around Dungy you feel like you are a better man and you want to make yourself a better man. He's such an inspiration in every way shape or form. He's the best."

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