Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy met Friday with owner Jim Irsay in the most recent of ongoing discussions about Dungy's future, according to team sources.
Irsay is offering Dungy "tremendous options" and "flexibility" to enable the coach to return for the 2008 season, even though Dungy's children have transferred from their Indianapolis schools to Tampa schools in the past week, sources said.
Dungy reiterated to Irsay that he will make a decision when the playoff run is over but first will take several days to recover from the season. Thursday, Dungy acknowledged he would talk with his wife and Indianapolis officials about the future when the Colts' season
If Dungy does retire, assistant head coach Jim Caldwell, who is also Peyton Manning's quarterback coach, is the clear-cut choice to succeed Dungy, sources said. Caldwell is a candidate for head-coach openings with the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens.
Irsay wants Dungy to usher the team into the franchise's new Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2008 season. As part of the ongoing discussions, the owner and general manager Bill Polian have presented several options to their coach, including an allowance for Dungy to spend three or four months away in the offseason.
Dungy appreciates that offseason option but is unlikely to accept it, though sources say Irsay also is willing to allow Dungy use of his private jet to take the coach back and forth to Tampa to enjoy specific family events, such as his son Eric's high school football games on Friday nights.
The decision by Dungy and his wife, Lauren, to enroll their school-age children in Tampa schools is complicated and not necessarily related to Dungy's immediate coaching future, sources said. Dungy spent almost his first two years in Indianapolis while his family resided in Tampa and he and his wife believe it can work again if he chooses to continue his coaching career.
Dungy is focused on the team's Sunday game against the San Diego Chargers and a run at a second consecutive Super Bowl title. He has been a head coach for 12 seasons with stints in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.
The 52-year-old Dungy signed a three-year contract extension in
September 2005, a deal intended to keep him with the Colts through
Dungy has said in the past he never intended to be a "lifer"
in football and that he initially planned to retire by the time he
was 50. But when he announced his return as Colts coach in
February, Dungy said he still had the passion to keep coaching.
Dungy is 127-65 in 12 seasons as a head coach, finishing his
six-year career in Tampa Bay as the franchise's winningest coach.
He is the only Colts coach to get double-digit victory totals and
earn playoff berths in six straight seasons. He led the Buccaneers
to the NFC Championship Game in 1999 and has been to the AFC
Championship Game twice with the Colts, following the 2003 and 2006
Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.