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Former Bucs coach Dungy excited to join “Ring of Honor”

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It was a day to reminisce for the Bucs and their fans, as the coach, who turned the franchise fortunes around in the 1990’s, returned to the building Tuesday to talk about his upcoming induction into the team’s “Ring of Honor.

Tony Dungy, who still makes his home in Tampa, was back at One Buc Place.

The Buccaneers had previously announced this spring that Dungy would become the 12th inductee, since they began honoring their great players, coaches, etc. in 2009.

And Dungy stood at the podium and smiled ear to ear reminiscing about when he took over.

“It’s awesome to be here. A special day for me. Got a chance to come here (Bucs facility) this morning, speak to the team…Got a chance to watch practice and just think about what has happened in the last 22 years.

On what he remembers, Dungy went back to the beginning with the Bucs,

“I remember just coming here and talking to Mr. Glazer (late owner Malcolm) and saying ‘we want to get our team connected back to the city. We want to get people excited about the Buccaneers, again. We want to our guys to be part of the community and doing things right. And, by the way, we want to win'”

And the importance of being grateful to everyone that helped him,

“It’s an awesome, awesome tribute and honor for me and my family. I am proud of that and I am grateful. I thank God that I got a chance to come here. And I am thankful for the people that I got a chance to come in contact with. We had some tremendous players. Some of them are here today. And I obviously would not be here without those guys.”

Dungy took over the reins as the Bucs coach in 1996, when they had already achieved a dubious modern NFL record with 13 consecutive losing seasons. They were 6-10 his first year, but with the help of now, Hall of Famers themselves, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, plus Mike Alstott, Hardy Nickerson, John Lynch, Paul Gruber, etc., the Bucs became a playoff team a year later.

And eventually, they went to the playoffs four total times in his six seasons, including the 1999 narrow NFC Championship Game loss to the eventual Superbowl Champion St. Louis Rams.

Dungy, was fired by the Glazers after not being successful enough (ironically) after the 2001 playoffs, where they lost for the second consecutive year to the Philadelphia Eagles.

He went to the Colts and QB Peyton Manning the following season and eventually, they won the Superbowl in 2006. After retiring from coaching in 2008, Dungy has been the lead analyst on NBC’s Football Night in America pregame and halftime coverage.

He will  join two former coaches John McKay and Jon Gruden, in the “Ring of Honor” , when the Bucs play against the team he began his playing career for, the Steelers, on Monday Night Football September 24th.

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