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Saturday, September 25, 2010
Updated: September 26, 11:09 AM ET
Tony Dungy visits Jets, talks to Yankees

By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Tony Dungy said on Saturday afternoon that he visited the New York Jets earlier in the day "on a personal note."

The former NFL coach, who was at Yankee Stadium on Saturday to address the New York Yankees before their game against the Boston Red Sox, declined to say if he met personally with Jets coach Rex Ryan.

"You'd have to let him talk about that," Dungy told reporters. "I cannot say a word about that."

The Jets confirmed on Saturday afternoon that Ryan and Dungy met, but would give no details other than to say that Dungy will talk about it Sunday night on NBC's pregame show.

Dungy is an analyst for "Football Night in America" on NBC. The network will broadcast the Jets-Dolphins game.

Ryan drew criticism from Dungy for his use of profanity while being filmed for HBO's "Hard Knocks" series. Dungy said at the time that he was "disappointed with all the profanity ... I don't want to be around that. If I were in charge, I wouldn't hire someone like that."

Dungy went so far as to suggest that commissioner Roger Goodell should get involved.

Ryan fired back, saying he was disappointed that Dungy "unfairly judged" him.

"I've been a big admirer of Tony Dungy, and I'm sure a lot of people are, but he unfairly judged me, and that was disappointing to me," Ryan said at the time.

Ryan also called Dungy and left a message with the former Buccaneers and Colts coach, inviting him to spend time with the team. Ryan and Dungy later had a conversation that Ryan characterized as "man to man" in which Dungy accepted an invitation to meet with the team and Ryan.

"We look forward to having him come up and see what we're all about," Ryan said at the time.

Dungy was in the Bronx on Saturday to meet with the Yankees for a five-minute speech before their game.

He spoke to Joe Girardi's Bombers, who trailed Tampa by a half-game in the AL East entering play Saturday, about the importance of "hanging together" in the final eight games of the season.

Dungy said he talked about "focusing and hanging together down the stretch [in] important games. It's not necessarily who has the most talent, but which team sticks together and executes their fundamentals the best.

"So, probably nothing they haven't heard from Joe. But I know that I have a son who doesn't listen to anything that I say, but if he hears the same thing from someone else sometimes it has a little more impact."

Dungy said he referenced his experience with the 2006 Colts, who finished the regular season 3-4 after a 9-0 start. They went on to win Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007.

Girardi can only hope Dungy's presence can spark the Yankees, who have lost 12 of 18 and had a 6½-game lead on Boston in the wild-card standings prior to Saturday's game.

"To have him here, with the things he has accomplished in life, is special," right fielder Nick Swisher said. "He is a winner. It was impressive to see how he commanded the room."

The team previously invited Dungy to speak during spring training, but Dungy said he was unavailable.

Girardi said he has "a ton of respect" for Dungy.

"I admire [him] tremendously for his faith, his beliefs ... the type of family man [he is]; the type of coach," Girardi said, adding that he has read Dungy's books and subscribes to his website.

Rich Cimini and Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com contributed to this report.