Profootballtalk.com reported today that Indianapolis Head Coach Tony Dungy was stepping down from the position. Dungy has since denied the reports.
Whether they are true or not is quite irrelevant at this point. What is relevant, however, is that Colts assistant Jim Caldwell has today taken himself out of the head coaching search in Atlanta.
Coincidence? No chance.
It is no secret Dungy wishes to retire to where he used to coach, Tampa Bay, and become a minister.
For Dungy, that seems even more appealing, with his son Eric enrolling in a Tampa Bay high school.
Dungy has considered retirement the last two seasons, but this time it seems to be more serious than ever. With his decision to be made official on Monday, expect Dungy to step down.
Even if he decided to stay, is that in the Indianapolis Colts’ best interest? Yes, Dungy has led them to an NFL record five straight 12-win seasons, five straight AFC South Championships, two AFC Championships, and a Super Bowl victory a year ago.
But where would his commitment be?
The main question to ponder is whether Dungy still has the passion for the game. Dungy has repeatedly said he wanted to be out of the game by age 50. Now he is 52.
With a guy like Jim Caldwell waiting in the wings, it might just be time for the Colts and Dungy to part ways. Not taking away anything from the future Hall of Fame coach, but being a coach in this league is very demanding.
If a guy does not want to be there he will not succeed.
The Colts will have everyone under contract for next season, except Dallas Clark, who is likely going to be resigned or franchise tagged. The team may not have Dungy, but they will still have Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and the rest of their Pro Bowl roster.
There is no questioning Dungy's coaching abilities. There is no questioning the fact he is a players' coach. There is also no questioning of his prior success. However, when a coach's commitment to his team is in question, it is time to move on.
His legacy has been sealed, locked up, and sent to Canton. There is no need for him to put a dark spot on what has been a tremendous tenure in Indianapolis and Tampa Bay.
Tony, with all due respect, I advise you retire to the beaches of the great state of Florida.