Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Dolphins Q&A: Tony Dungy
By James Walker
TAMPA -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross announced Monday that he’s set up a task force to clean up their locker-room culture. One of the members selected to lead that task force is former Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy.
ESPN.com’s Dolphins team page caught up with Dungy before Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get his thoughts on his communication with Ross, Miami’s in-house culture, and how he plans to help.
James Walker: Tony, you have been one of the leading figures on several important NFL issues. How did Ross get in contact with you to join this task force to clean up the culture in Miami?
Tony Dungy: Steve called me. I talked to him several times during their coaching search and since he’s gotten the team. Steve called me and said he wasn’t sure what happened. He’s in the process of finding that out. But he wants to look forward and see how he could ensure their locker room and whole organization was operating in the best way. He wanted to get some former players that he respect and former coaches, and put together a recommendation of best practices.
Walker: After the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga, how serious do you think Ross is about cleaning up the Dolphins’ locker-room culture?
Dungy: I think he’s very serious. I think he’s disappointed that this happened on his watch, and it could have happened to anybody. People ask me how much should a coach know? How much should you be aware of what’s going on? You do have to count on your players, your leadership. I’m standing around a bunch of guys [in Tampa] who made it happen for me. What I did is set the atmosphere on what my expectations are. But I counted on Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp to let me know. As a coach you are kind of counting on that.
Walker: You, Don Shula, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin and Jason Taylor all have a lot of clout in NFL circles. Why do you think Ross picked this particular group?
Dungy: I think he wanted to get some ex-Dolphins. I think he wanted to get some guys that he respected that could say, ‘This is how football is. This is normal. This is what we had in great locker rooms and this is how you get it.’ I think he picked some great guys.
Walker: How involved will you be?
Dungy: I’m not sure. We haven’t really talked about it. It’s something I think will be very intensive early on, especially, to kind of set the tone. I just told him I would be glad to do whatever I can to help him out.