Ousted Colts at a Crossroads

The Colts' season ended Saturday with a 23-17 playoff loss in San Diego. With 2008 in the rearview mirror, now comes the time for several major decisions.

Will Tony Dungy decide to retire from coaching and head back to his home in Tampa? The pieces are in place for that to happen, what with assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell having already been named as the head coach-in-waiting last year.

Will veteran wide receiver Marvin Harrison be back? Indianapolis will save $7 million under the 2009 salary cap if it releases Harrison after the season. His salary cap charge is $13.9 million and he is due $9 million in base salary next year. He has three years remaining on a seven-year, $67 million deal that he signed in 2004.

Among the Colts' key free agents are center Jeff Saturday, cornerback Kelvin Hayden, running back Dominic Rhodes, cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, defensive tackle Darrell Reid, defensive end Josh Thomas and punter Hunter Smith.

But first things first. Dungy is expected to take about a week or so before he decides his immediate future. As in past offseasons, he will spend time with his family before announcing his plans.

"I have not (made a decision). But we'll start that process and figure out what we're going to do. As soon as we know, we'll let you know," he said.

"It's always the same thing. You're always disappointed on this day when you lose, whether its wild-card, championship game, Super Bowl. There's a disappointment that you have to let go of. The year that we won (the Super Bowl), there was kind of an emotional high that you had to come down off of. But we'll just pray about it and see what options we have and kind of where the Lord's leading. There are family issues and other things that you'd like to do. But the bottom line is we have a fun team to coach. We've got some great players. We've got a team that I know can win. And I still enjoy it. So we'll try to balance those two and see what happens."

Dungy is expected to sit down with team owner Jim Irsay and team president Bill Polian sometime in the next week and let them know what he wants to do.

"I'm going to spend the new few days with my wife and then once we decide what we're going to do, I'll let Jim and Bill know," he said. "(The next week) will be family time and we'll spend it together and try to decide what we're going to do and go from there.

"I enjoy (coaching), had fun this year. Had a great deal of fun. I enjoy watching our young guys improve. I enjoy everything that goes with being the head coach. And I couldn't have a better situation than I have here, better ownership. And I know we're going to get players and Bill's going to do everything that we can to win. You're coaching the MVP of the league and a team that you know is going to be good. So we'll see."


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