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Monday, March 16, 2009
NFLPA talks about job with Dungy

ESPN.com news services

Newly elected NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has asked former Colts head coach Tony Dungy to serve as a liaison between the association's players and the NFL office for player issues both on and off the field.

Dungy confirmed to ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that he has been approached by Smith and is interested in the position. Dungy said that Smith informed him that he would be in touch shortly to better define the job.

"It's certainly something that's close to my heart, having been associated with the NFL for so long," Dungy said.

The 45-year-old Smith was elected Sunday on the first ballot by the 32 representatives -- one for each NFL team -- and was introduced to a standing ovation.

Dungy retired from coaching in January after seven seasons with the Colts and one Super Bowl ring.

Dungy talked constantly to his players about being targets, once describing to a visitor the specifics of how he counsels them to avoid the wrong people, the wrong places and the perils of driving in the early morning after consuming a few beers.

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He also has firsthand knowledge of troubled young people -- three years ago, Dungy's son, James, committed suicide at age 18. That winter, he began to think about retirement, which finally came at 53, an age when many get their first job as a head coach.

"I think I've got a responsibility to be home a little bit more, be available to my family a little bit more and do some things to help make our country better," Dungy said when he announced this offseason that he was stepping down.

"I don't know what that is right now, but we'll see."

Also, Dungy had talks Monday with a member of President Barack Obama's administration about participating in some faith-based initiatives aimed at cultural issues, including fatherhood and reducing abortions nationwide. Those discussions will continue, he said.

Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.