WHERE HE WANTS TO BE

Clyde Christensen, in his eighth season with the Colts, next season will enter his first season as the team's assistant head coach while continuing to tutor the wide receivers. Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said recently Christensen has a "unique perspective on football."

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Christensen Said He Wanted to Stay in Indianapolis with Colts
INDIANAPOLIS – Clyde Christensen never wanted to leave.

This is where he knows. And who he knows.

And to Christensen, that's imant. Real important.

So even when he was looking elsewhere this past offseason, even after the retirement of former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy – Christensen's mentor, boss and friend – even during all of that, Christensen said his heart remained where it has been the last seven seasons. In Indianapolis.

Christensen, the Colts' wide receivers coach since Dungy's 2002 hiring, said even when he was interviewing for the offensive coordinator position of the San Francisco 49ers, he didn't particularly want to leave the Colts.

Shortly after Jim Caldwell took the head coaching position in January he offered Christensen a promotion and new title. Christensen took it.

"As you all know this (promotion) was a good opportunity," said Christensen, who will remain as receivers coach while also serving as the Colts' assistant head coach.

"I wanted to stay here."

Christensen, 53, joined Indianapolis in early 2002 from Tampa Bay, where he served under Dungy as tight ends coach from 1996-98, the quarterbacks coach in 1999-2000 and finally, as the offensive coordinator during the 2001 season.

He spent 17 years as a collegiate assistant and played quarterback for North Carolina in 1977 and 1978.

"Clyde has a unique perspective on football," Caldwell said recently.

Christensen in Tampa Bay coached wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson before coaching Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison in Indianapolis during a combined 10 Pro Bowl seasons.

In 2001, during Christensen's lone season as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator, Johnson caught 106 passes and quarterback Brad Johnson completed a franchise-record 340 passes.

But as was the case with Caldwell's hiring of special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski and defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, Christensen said there was far more to his decision to accept the position than football or job titles.

The reason:

A respect for the person doing the hiring.

Christensen said he developed a close relationship with Dungy during 13 seasons together, and – having coached with Caldwell since the trio's final season in Tampa Bay in 2001 – he said his relationship with Caldwell is close as well.

"There's a very similar relationship (with his 1996-2001 tenure at Tampa Bay and his 2002-09 tenure in Indianapolis)," Christensen said.

Caldwell, like Dungy before him, puts a high value not only on relationships, but on involvement in the community. He's a spokeman for All-Pro Dad – as was Dungy – and is also involved in charity events around Indianapolis, an area Caldwell said Christensen can play a major role.

"From a community standpoint, Clyde is very community-minded," Caldwell said. "He will assist in terms of speaking engagements and appearances and things of that nature."

Dungy and Christensen in 2001 hired Caldwell as Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach following the latter's leaving Wake Forest, where he was the head coach from 1993-2000.

"I came into the league with Tony (Dungy) and spent the whole time with Tony, and when I became the coordinator there in Tampa, we hired Jim Caldwell as the quarterbacks coach," Christensen said. "I've just had a great relationship with him. That means a lot to me, just who I work with, who we do it with."

"That's more important than where or for how much or what title or all those things. I've always believed that.

"In my 13 years in the NFL, I've found that to be the most important thing. I've tried to stay with that."

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