News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Colts

November 5, 2008

Pittsburgh ties: Colts coach Dungy played, coached for Steelers

INDIANAPOLIS — In a sense, Tony Dungy will be going home this weekend.

Dungy, the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach since 2002, began his NFL playing career with Sunday’s opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in 1977. He played cornerback for the Steelers from 1977-78 before being traded to the San Francisco 49ers.

After ending his on-field career, Dungy joined Chuck Noll’s Pittsburgh coaching staff in 1981. He served as the team’s defensive backfield coach from 1981-88, adding the Steelers’ defensive coordinator title in 1984.

But the roots run deeper than that.

His wife, Lauren, is a Pittsburgh native and a longtime Steelers fan. Pittsburgh’s current head coach, Mike Tomlin, spent one season (2001) as Dungy’s secondary coach at Tampa Bay.

“I am looking forward [to returning to Pittsburgh for Sunday’s game]. They have a very tough football team and they are playing well.

“That part won’t be so pleasant. But it will be great to see the [Heinz Field] stadium, see everyone and get back there,” the Colts’ coach said this week.

Dungy enjoyed his time playing for the Steelers and came to appreciate the team’s loyal and loud fans. But he knows that his playing time in Pittsburgh won’t mean a thing this week.

“It’s going to be a tough game. They give you a lot of stuff out of the 3-4 [defensive scheme]. They bring a lot of different people, linebackers, safeties, cornerbacks [during their pass rush] and you have to be aware of a lot of things,” he said.

“It’s a very physical offense running the ball at you. It’ll be a different style of offense. But, again, we’re getting into a stretch where we’re playing all these AFC teams that are right in the [playoff] hunt. It’s almost like we have to win every week. And we’ll need the same type of performance.”

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