Scott Ware wasn’t with the Indianapolis Colts for long.
But he spent enough time with the team to come to the same conclusion as a legion of other players: Tony Dungy was a different kind of football coach.
Dungy, hailed as a model of calm, patience and dignity, retired as the Colts coach Monday after a seven-year run that included a Super Bowl title.
Ware, a former star at Montgomery High and USC, spent the final three regular-season games of the Colts’ 2006 Super Bowl season on the team’s practice squad.
Ware arrived in Indianapolis two days after the nadir of the Colts’ season, a 44-17 loss to Jacksonville in which they allowed 375 rushing yards, the second-most in NFL history.
Ware was struck by Dungy’s reaction. No hysterics. Not even a raised voice. And certainly no cuss words.
“It was the Tuesday after the game and he wasn’t yelling. He wasn’t mad,” Ware said. “He said ‘Our game plan was OK, but we just need to tackle better.’ He wasn’t panicking like it was the end of the world.”
Dungy cut Ware in the 2007 training camp. But even that sour ending doesn’t diminish Ware’s opinion.
“He always honest with me and let me know what the situation was, whether it was when he cut me or when I signed with them,” Ware said. “In everything he said, he always seemed genuine. Through his personality and faith it came out in his everyday talk.”