The chants were about what one would expect as the Colts came onto the practice field Sunday afternoon.
“Reggie, Reggie, Reggie,” rang out from the bleachers in Anderson as wide receiver Reggie Wayne went through warm-ups.
After the popular chant heard in Lucas Oil each home game began to wind down for No. 87, another one slowly started for a group of people not dressed in shoulder pads and jerseys.
“Dungy, Dungy, Dungy.”
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy made a rare appearance at an NFL practice on Sunday as some members of his family joined him.
Dungy came to Anderson on Saturday evening and met with coach Chuck Pagano before watching practice and addressing the team on Sunday.
“This was actually the first practice I’ve seen of anybody since I left. It was fun to see the start of a new era,” Dungy said.
During the special teams part of practice, quarterback Andrew Luck made his way over to the Super Bowl winning coach and the two shared a few words before the rookie went to work in his first day of an NFL training camp.
“I got a chance to meet Andrew (Luck), watch him, see the decisions he’s making and just the command of the huddle and command of the field. They’re going to be in good hands. They’re going to be in good hands for a long time.”
On the roster it might say ‘R’ next to Luck’s name indicating his inexperience playing at the professional level, but Dungy saw none of that youthfulness in the Stanford product.
“I think that’s what impressed me the most, to see the decision making and the lack of any indecisiveness. He looked like a third or fourth year guy in this first practice,” Dungy said.
As Dungy scanned the practice field Sunday afternoon he saw many new faces from when he last coached the Colts in 2008.
He had a chance to catch up with some of the players that helped the Colts capture Super Bowl XLI and believes they are comfortable and ready for a new season.
“It’s a new system for them, but they’re embracing it and looking to be the leaders,” Dungy said. “Again, Reggie (Wayne), Dwight (Freeney), Antoine (Bethea), Robert (Mathis), those are guys you want to follow so they’re going to be in good shape.”
After practice ended on Sunday afternoon, Pagano held his players a little longer on the 50-yard line and it didn’t take long for everyone to figure out who was in the middle of that huddle.
Even though their coaching careers did not cross paths on the same team, Pagano’s respect for Dungy is endless.
“He’s got so much and he’s done so many great things,” Pagano said. “What I told the team–all-time winningist coach in Colts history, every one of his teams here went to the playoffs, 92 wins, won a Super Bowl and more importantly than that it’s what he’s done off the field, and how he is as a man and how he is as a father, and all the lives that he’s impacted.”
The on the field accomplishments Dungy achieved while in Indianapolis speak for themselves but he still plays a major role in a number of organizations in the Circle City still today.
Despite being away from coaching and having few direct ties to the current Colts coaching staff, he still made sure he was in Anderson to help out an organization, and a community, he has already done so much for.
“To be able to address the team and talk to them about, what it means to play football here in Indiana, what it means to have these fans and what they can do to lay their own foundation. It was a pretty special afternoon for me,” Dungy said.
Tags: chuck pagano, Jim Irsay, Tony Dungy
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