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Dungy is close to joining Colts

By RICK STROUD
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 22, 2002

TAMPA -- Tony Dungy will be an NFL head coach again in a few days, and the frontrunner appears to be the Indianapolis Colts.

Dungy met with Colts officials Sunday night before leaving to attend a White House reception honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

The Colts believe Dungy will improve their defense and want to resolve their head coaching situation by midweek.

Agent Ray Anderson, who attended the reception with former Vikings coach Dennis Green, Jets coach Herman Edwards and their wives, indicated Dungy could choose between the Colts and Carolina Panthers as early as today.

Dungy interviewed with the Panthers on Friday and Saturday. If he chooses Indianapolis, the Panthers are expected to hire Giants defensive coordinator John Fox.

"He's still deliberating," Anderson said. "There's nothing definitive tonight."

Wherever Dungy is hired, he is likely to take many of his Bucs defensive assistants with him.

Although Dungy's staff remains under contract, the Bucs are expected to grant all their assistants permission to talk with other teams beginning today. Since Dungy's firing, only the team's offensive assistants have been allowed to seek jobs elsewhere.

The Bucs are expected to make an announcement today about the assistants' status.

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