Tony Dungy, the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl, walked away from pro football Monday, saying he was looking forward to what life has in store away from the NFL.
"I've been tremendously blessed to play three years in the NFL and coach for 28, and those 31 years have been fantastic," said the 53-year-old commander of the Indianapolis Colts. "... Don't shed any tears for me. I've got to live a dream that most people don't get to live. What phase two is, we'll see.... I have a real peace about it that this is the right time."
Dungy, who spent seven years with the Colts, said that he and his wife discussed his future felt the time was right to move on.
"I think I've got a chance to do some things down the road,” he said. I think I've got a responsibility to be home a little more."
When the Colts were ousted from Super Bowl contention by the San Diego Chargers last week, it was widely understood that Dungy might announce his retirement. If the coach had had his way, however, the announcement would have come after his team was awarded the Vince Lombardi trophy in Tampa on Feb. 1. He said he does not plan to coach again, but he refused to rule it completely out. The only thing that seems certain right now is that Dungy, who led his teams to playoffs 10 times, will land in the NFL Hall of Fame some day.
"What an incredible privilege it has been to work with this extraordinary man," said Colts President Bill Polian at the news conference. "... We'll miss his faith. We'll miss his optimism. We'll miss his patience.... What a joy it was to come to work with Tony Dungy every day."