Now that Tony Dungy is out of a job, sources say he's a leading candidate for the head-coaching vacancies in Indianapolis and Carolina.
If Dungy has to choose between the Colts and Panthers, it is a safe guess that the Colts have the edge.
The Colts make sense because Dungy is a defensive-minded coach whose schemes are fundamentally sound and simple. Colts president Bill Polian felt ex-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's schemes were too sophisticated for young players. Citing the team's investment on the offensive side of the ball, Polian has made it clear the defense will continue to be built through the draft.
Colts owner Jim Irsay also made it clear to ESPN that the team wants to retain offensive coordinator Tom Moore. Dungy is close friends with Moore.
Dungy also is attractive to Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, according to league sources.
If Dungy has to choose between the Colts and Panthers, it's a safe guess that the Colts have the edge for a few reasons. One is that he would have Peyton Manning for his quarterback in Indianapolis, compared to Chris Weinke in Carolina.
Dungy also might not relish the twice-a-year publicity circus he surely would face as coach of the Panthers, who would compete with the Buccaneers in the realigned NFC South division.
The Colts have been quiet about their search to replace ex-coach Jim Mora. Irsay did not deny that Polian has talked to ex-Bills coach Marv Levy, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last August, but downplayed the likelihood of Levy succeeding Mora.
Other candidates for the Indy job are believed to be Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache and Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell. Despite speculation naming LSU coach Nick Saban as a candidate, sources close to Saban insist that he has not been contacted by the Colts and is almost certain to remain at the school.