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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Return to field rewarding for Dungy, Colts
Published January 2, 2006
INDIANAPOLIS - Tony Dungy tried to do things his normal way.
But when Mike Doss handed him the ball with 13 seconds left, even the Colts coach couldn't resist the temptation to respond. In a rare emotional outburst, he grabbed the ball, raised it in his right hand and pumped it toward the crowd, which roared in approval.
Who could blame him?
Five days after burying his oldest son, 18-year-old James, Dungy watched Jim Sorgi throw two touchdowns and got a goal-line stand - thanks to a replay reversal - in the final seconds to beat Arizona.
"I know those guys wanted to win the game for me and wanted to do it for a lot of reasons," Dungy said. "But I think they wanted to win it for me, and they came up with the effort to do it. It was special."
Indy set a franchise record for victories at 14-2 and avoided its first three-game losing streak since 2002.
But the stats paled in comparison to Dungy's perseverance during a time football understandably became secondary.
After a tortuous 10 days in which his son died of an apparent suicide, and after delivering the eulogy at Tuesday's funeral in Tampa, the former Bucs coach made a surprise return to practice Thursday.
Many fans came to show their support for Dungy during an otherwise meaningless game - weeks ago, Indy clinched the AFC's top seed and Arizona was eliminated from the playoffs.
Before the game, the Colts had a moment of silence in honor of James Dungy, who was found unresponsive Dec.22 in his Lutz apartment. The Colts coach spent pregame warmups shaking hands and walking around the field with his other teenage son, Eric, who retrieved kicking tees during the game.
When Dungy walked onto the field, he received a standing ovation and waved to the crowd. For much of the game, he was his usual self - hands folded, pacing stoically along the sideline.
And then, with a little help from official Ron Winter, the Colts found a way to give Dungy a brief respite by stopping the Cardinals three times from the Colts 2 in the game's final two minutes.
"It made me feel good because we really try and play hard for Coach Dungy, everyone loves him," defensive tackle Larry Tripplett said.
Again for the Colts, the game had a preseason feel.
Three Pro Bowl players - running back Edgerrin James, linebacker Cato June and safety Bob Sanders - were deactivated. Two-time MVP Peyton Manning played one series and receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne were in for only two. Dwight Freeney played sparingly, and nearly half of Indy's starting defense sat out the entire game.
Josh McCown, possibly in his final game as a Cardinal, completed 31-of-42 for 297 yards and a touchdown but couldn't get in on fourth and goal from the Indy 1 in the final minute. Officials ruled it a touchdown, then reversed the call, changing it to a fumble that backup linebacker Rob Morris recovered.
Arizona coach Dennis Green, Dungy's longtime friend, said the reversal was the right call and even McCown seemed content with it given the circumstances.
"I thought I pushed in and I crossed," McCown said. "I thought where the ball was, in my arm, it was very minute. After all the Dungys and all the people in the Colts organization have gone through, it's not something I'm very bitter about at all."
NOTABLE: Anquan Boldin caught eight passes and Larry Fitzgerald six as they became the first duo of 100-reception receivers on the same team since Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey on the 2000 Broncos. ... Neil Rackers hit two field goals to break the single-season record with 40. Miami's Olindo Mare kicked 39 in 1999 as did St. Louis' Jeff Wilkins in 2003.