Colts head coach Tony Dungy was asked by the media last week while he attended the NFL owners' meeting about how hard it will be for the Colts to replace Edgerrin James.
"We wanted him to come back. But that's
just the way this kind of system is supposed to work," he said. "You know you're not going to get them all back. You wish you could. But it just doesn't work that way."
That said, Dungy is looking forward. Not at what could have been if James was still wearing the horseshoe this season.
"You always find the next person. I just think back to when Marshall (Faulk) left," he said. "I think at that time, everybody wanted them to take Ricky Williams, so you never know how things
are going to go. We found Edge and we'll find someone else. It may be a combination of guys. I don't know that just one guy can do all that.
While the Colts lost a star running back, they added a clutch kicker. And quite unexpectedly, as Dungy described the events.
"We assumed he was going back (to New England). We just kind of followed it. He was in Green Bay just a little longer than you would have thought. So we saw that kind of brewing and said maybe there's something to this and maybe we should get involved," he said.
"We had a meeting with Jim Irsay. Once we decided, it was about a 45-minute process. Adam was looking at us and liked the situation and wanted to kick for a contender. And we play indoors, and that was a big plus."
Despite a tough playoff loss at home after a stellar regular season, Dungy is heading into 2006 with his usual optimism and even-keeled perspectives.
"I think we'll come back, hopefully, with a
purpose and be kind of inspired by what Pittsburgh did. They lost (the year before) and had some issues they had to overcome. And they were very focused and very determined. That's what we've got to do."
And that focus from the start of offseason workouts will be crucial to the Colts' success according to Dungy.
"I think what we have to worry about is people
telling us nothing matters but the playoffs, that you really don't have to worry until December or January. That's how you don't get back. We've got to understand what gets you there and take it from the off-season program and training camp."
And when the regular season begins, at least one Colt will have an extra-special stake in the outcome of the first game. Dungy was asked what he thought Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said when he saw that he'd be playing his brother, Eli, and the New York Giants.
"What he said publicly is this would be a great thing for the NFL. 'I'm excited about playing on opening day and I'm excited about playing
against my brother and I've never played against him before and it's going to be very exciting," Dungy said with a smile.
"What he was thinking in his mind was, 'I'm not
going to lose to my brother on national television. I'm not going to lose opening day. Whatever my regimen was, it just cranked up five percent because I'm not going to lose on opening day.'"
Dungy Looks Forward ... and Back
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