I just got off the phone with Tony Dungy. I had called my old special teams coach Joe Marciano, who is now the special teams coordinator for the Houston Texans. I left him a message asking for Tony's cell number so that I could contact him. Joe called me back and told me that he had just got off the phone with Tony and that Tony was looking for my number. That is a "Goocher" in my book.
Tony has decided that he is ready to move on to the next chapter in his life. It was great to hear Tony's voice. It had been some time since I had spoken with him. Espn wrote some great articles on Tony. One in particular was about me and how he handled a slump that I went through in 1997 when my mother was dying of cancer: http://myespn.go.com/blogs/nfcsouth/0-7-74/A-Dungy-story-you-may-not-have-heard.html
Being an athlete and/or a coach is demanding enough. However, how we handle both victory and defeat provides the opportunity to demonstrate character. The NFL is a "machine" and I have seen many people change under its grips. I have heard coaches tell our team one thing, only to have something else happen. That was never the case with Tony. With the amount of money and pressure that is found in the NFL, Tony never allowed it to control him. His faith in man-kind is strong. His faith in God is stronger. This man "Walks the Walk."
I will forever be grateful to Tony not only for how he handled my situation, but how fortunate I am to have him as a friend and the impact that he has had on my life.