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Ties to Dungy diminish as players come and go
By STEPHEN F. HOLDER, Times Staff Writer
Published October 5, 2007
There are only three players on the Bucs' active roster who were coached by Tony Dungy when he was with Tampa Bay.
TAMPA - Tony Dungy seems forever linked to the Buccaneers, having coached the team for six of their most successful seasons.
But with just three players on the active roster who played for him during his Tampa Bay days, Sunday's Bucs-Colts matchup pitting the current Indianapolis coach and his former team doesn't mean what it once did, players said.
"I learned a lot from the guy," cornerback Ronde Barber said. "He's part of what I am. ... But as good as he was to this organization and this team, it's starting to not define us because of so much turnover now. We care about him, but Jon Gruden is our coach and he's leading us now."
Barber, cornerback Brian Kelly and linebacker Derrick Brooks are the only players on the active roster to have played for Dungy with the Bucs. Fullback Mike Alstott did, but he is on injured reserve and might not play again.
There has been some effort by the aforementioned trio to downplay the storyline.
"It's pretty irrelevant to 2007 and our 3-1 start," Barber said. "We're worried about Peyton Manning more than (talking) about Tony. So, I don't think that's a story we want to rehash because we have a lot of positive things going forward and we're trying to focus on that."
Besides, losing this game would hurt just as much as any other, Brooks said.
" ... Anytime I lose I'm (mad). God bless my mom, but every time she beat me in pool, I was mad," Brooks said.
And the NFL is full of familiar opponents, he said.
"It's kind of like playing Warrick (Dunn)," Brooks said, referring to the former Tampa Bay running back now playing in Atlanta. "I'm trying to beat him. I'm 0-1 against Tony."
INJURY UPDATE: Cornerback Phillip Buchanon was added to the injury report Thursday. His participation in practice was limited because of a foot injury. Also limited was receiver Ike Hilliard, who is still dealing with the injured left ankle he played on against Carolina on Sunday. Cornerback Brian Kelly (groin) and defensive end Greg Spires (ankle) participated in practice, the team said.
Times staff writer Joanne Korth contributed to this report. Stephen F. Holder can be reached email@example.com.