Dungy goes back to coaching Colts

Nfl Notes

Football

December 30, 2005

Tony Dungy hugged his players, his assistant coaches and thanked the public for its support after returning to Indianapolis yesterday. Then he went right back to work.

One week after leaving the Colts to mourn the death of his oldest son, James, Dungy ran practices, team meetings and announced he would coach Sunday's regular-season finale against Arizona.

"It was the right time to come back," he explained somberly after the Colts' afternoon workout. "I talked about it with my wife, and we went through the grieving process and now we're starting with the healing process."

Dungy's return culminated a draining week in which football has been secondary to life and death for the Colts.

He left the team Dec. 22 when his 18-year-old son was found dead at an apartment in the Tampa, Fla., area. A preliminary autopsy called the death an apparent suicide.

Bengals -- The team gave quarterback Carson Palmer a six-year contract extension through 2014, aiming to bring long-term success to a franchise finally having its breakthrough season. Palmer, who won the Heisman Trophy at Southern California in 2003, was under contract through 2008. The extension gives the Bengals more salary cap flexibility for next season because his bonuses will be spread out over more years. It also sends a message that the Bengals are serious about winning for years to come. "We've knocked down another one of those walls," coach Marvin Lewis said.

Jaguars -- Quarterback Byron Leftwich says his mending left ankle is getting better. Leftwich broke the ankle Nov. 27 against Arizona and has been out since. He practiced Wednesday and yesterday and said he hopes to be ready when the Jaguars open the playoffs Jan. 7 or 8. His status for Sunday's final regular-season game with Tennessee remains a question.

Raiders -- The team placed Charles Woodson on injured reserve, ending the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback's season and possibly signaling the end of his career in Oakland.

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