Dungy Returning To Colts Next Season

Tuesday, February 20th 2007, 7:50 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Tony Dungy is coming back for another season with the Super Bowl champs. Dungy made it clear Monday that he will return to the Indianapolis Colts sideline, quashing any talk that he might step down after becoming the first black coach to win a Super Bowl ring.

``Obviously, you want to come back. You want to defend the title. We've got such a great group of guys, that that's eventually what draws you back every year,'' Dungy said in advance of the NFL Scouting Combine. ``I wouldn't say it was an easy decision, but it was the right one, and it didn't take overly long to make.''

While there had been speculation concerning Dungy's return for the 2007 season, the suspense didn't trouble team president Bill Polian.

``I wasn't terribly concerned,'' he said.

And with that out of the way, the Colts can focus on next season.

The Colts' first NFL championship since the franchise moved from Baltimore 23 years ago also gave them the last pick _ 32nd _ in the draft in April, meaning there's little time to decide where to focus direction.

``We know we have to get back to work,'' Dungy said. ``I still haven't come down yet. I'm a pretty even-keel guy, but it's still a special time. It's been great, it's been fun, but we have to zero in on the 2007 season.''

The first step will be the annual Scouting Combine that begins Thursday in the Colts' home stadium. They already addressed free agency in a big way Monday.

Polian put the franchise tag on defensive end Dwight Freeney, keeping him with the Colts one more year while they work on a long-term contract.

Now they will look at other available players.

``You have your wish list,'' Dungy said. ``You know if you get Item A, you may not be able to get Item B, C or D. It's just a tough road to navigate. As a coach, you want everybody back, but you know that's not going to happen.''