INDIANAPOLIS --- Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy was back at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center Saturday evening for a worthwhile cause and SportsWorld event with former Colts linebacker Devon McDonald, also spending some time over the weekend at the NFL Combine with AllProDad.com. While in town, Dungy dropped by the Colts UpClose set to talk all things Colts.
For the full interview, click on the video above. Dungy hit on some great memories from Indianapolis, his thoughts on the current state of the Colts, Marvin Harrison's Hall of Fame snub, Reggie Wayne's retirement decision, and "Clony Dungy":
It's been 6 years since you retired, but I've heard plenty of stories about how you and (Jim) Irsay have a pretty good relationship still, even to this day:
"We do. We've been on the phone just recently, as a matter of fact. Jim is sensational, helped my family out at the Super Bowl. He's just been special from day one. I remember when he left me a voicemail message, after I had gotten fired by the Buccaneers. 'I want you to be our coach. Here's why. This is how we want to do things. We want to win, and we want to do it the right way.' From that point on, we've been tied very closely. I have nothing but admiration for him and how he's tried to run this organization. A special place in my heart, because he wants to win but the big thing for him. He wanted the Colts team connect with the community. That was always his goal, and it's happened."
How surprised were you that Marvin (Harrison) didn't get in again (this year into the Hall of Fame)?
"I've been disappointed in that, but I've come to learn about the Hall of Fame process. It is a matter (of time). All the voters tell me, 'We know we got to get certain people in, and Marvin Harrison is a Hall of Famer.' So, he's going to get in, but unfortunately, it was just a back-log of receivers. And Tim Brown went in, and Cris Carter went in before that. So, it kind of has that pecking order, Andre Reed. Marvin Harrison is right in with those guys. Eventually he's going to go. My hope is that he'll go next year, but Bill Polian made it. So we'll have some Colts parties and celebrations this year, and hopefully, for Marvin Harrison next year."
It's funny how history sometimes repeats itself. You look at the current Colts situation, and it looks so familiar from the time you were here, right before you won the Super Bowl. What are your observations of the current state of this team?
"It is so similar. They've got a very, very good football team. They've won the AFC South the past couple of years. That's what you want to do. You want to be in the hunt. You want to have your team there, playing at that high level. That's what they've done. I know people get frustrated. 'You can't seem to take the next step. We're this close to a championship, but we're not quite there. We keep losing to the Patriots.' The thing is you can't worry about that. You can't get so focused on, 'We've got to make all these changes, try to catch one particular team.' Just keep improving. Keep playing your game, and they're going to be fine. I love where the Colts are positioned. Just keep building, and they are going to be great."
What do you see when you look at Chuck Pagano?
"That is so hard to do, to have that consistency. Obviously with Andrew (Luck), it helps, but building so week in and week out you're playing well, people don't realize how difficult that is to do. I love Coach Pagano's style. I love what he emphasizes. As I said, just keep building. You get 11, 12 wins, you're in the hunt. You're going to win one eventually."
When you went through the retirement process in 2008, I'm curious how similar you think that is for a player, and in particular Reggie Wayne, as he's trying to make that decision right now.
"I know what Reggie's going through. You still love the game. You're wondering when is the right time. You don't want to stay a year too long, but you know can still perform and still do it. It is. It's a thought process. 2005 is actually when it started with me. I was turning 50-years-old. That was my 25th year of coaching. Is this the right time? We got knocked out of the playoffs. 'I want to come back and see if we can win one." 2006 we won it. 'Is this the right time to step down?' Then, I talked to Jim Irsay a little bit. We talked about defending the championship. Maybe we can win back-to-back. So, you never really know. I know Reggie's like me. As much as he loves the game, he'll want to go one year too early rather than one year too late. That's what you think about making that decision.
Have you seen the Colts superfan "Clony Dungy", a teacher in the area named Mike Bostic?
"Haha! I have! I recognize him, and I'll tell you what. He's got it all down pat. He's got the headset on the proper ear. He's got the v-neck sweatervest and the long-sleeve white (shirt). Unbelievable. I don't know how he got that close, but he's done a good job. Very flattering."