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Hundreds pay respect to Dungy and son

LUTZ, Fla. (Dec. 27, 2005) -- NFL stars past and present attended the funeral of the 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

Flanked by a police escort, six charter buses carrying Colts players, coaches and staff streamed into the parking lot of the Idlewild Baptist Church in suburban Tampa.

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning arrived separately for the service for James Dungy, who died last week in an apparent suicide.

Most of the Colts traveled to the funeral, as did former and current members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where Dungy coached from 1996 to 2000. Among them were Buccaneers owner Malcom Glazer, former general manager Rich McKay, now general manager for the Atlanta Falcons, and former Buccaneer Warren Sapp.

Buccaneers stars Derrick Brooks and Simeon Rice also attended, as did New York Jets coach Herman Edwards and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith.

Tony and Lauren Dungy planned to bury their son following the service. Dungy left the team Dec. 22, and it was uncertain when he would return.

On the evening of Dec. 26, hundreds of mourners came to pay their respects to the coach. Dungy, revered in this city as much more than someone who wins football games, seemed to be comforting well-wishers instead of the other way around.

Jim Caldwell, who is running the Colts in Dungy's absence, has been in almost daily contact with him and is trying to keep the team in its routine. That included a scheduled three-day break even after a second successive loss -- 28-13 on Dec. 24 at Seattle.

Still, the teen-ager's death has pushed football into a secondary role for the Colts, who spent much of the past two months answering questions about the possibility of becoming the second NFL team to complete a perfect season.

That quest ended at 13-0 when they lost 26-17 to San Diego on Dec. 18. Four days later, James was found unresponsive in his apartment and pronounced dead in the hospital. The exact cause of his death will be determined following a toxicology study.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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