Tony Dungy was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in part because of his contributions to football as a whole.
Yes, he was a player on a Super Bowl champion in Pittsburgh and then won an NFL title as a coach with Indianapolis. But so much more than the game defines Dungy.
He’s been a go-to adviser for players and executives. He’s a top-level analyst on NBC’s Sunday night broadcasts. Dungy is heavily involved in charity and diversity work.
Plus, he’s an author.
Dungy and his wife, Lauren, just penned their fourth book in a children’s series. This one is titled “Carson Chooses Forgiveness,” and it follows “We Chose You,” which focuses on adoption; “Maria Finds Courage,” and “Austin Plays Fair,” which are self-explanatory.
“My wife and I are peewee coaches and things come up,” Dungy says, “and we try to walk the young players through different situations.
“In ‘Carson Chooses Forgiveness,’ one guy hogs the ball and won’t pass it. Will he try to embrace this guy or shut him down and keep the team divided? There’s a very good message for kids and parents that sometimes we have to help kids through those life lessons.”
The Dungys were inspired to write way back when Tony was coaching; he retired after the 2008 season.
“Lauren and other wives would go in (to schools and libraries) and read and emphasize how important reading is,” Dungy says. “She said, ‘We can’t find a lot of books with a real good message or with diversity.’ They were reading in the city schools and there were no African-American characters or Hispanic characters, and so that was when we thought of doing different kinds of kids and people in the books.”
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Patrick Mahomes is getting a chance to play on the same field where his pop once played, albeit in totally different sports, for what is likely to be the only time in his career.
The Chiefs visit the Raiders on Sunday, and that means one last trip to the “Black Hole” of what is generally known as Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. It has long served as the home for the Athletics — thus, the place where Pat Mahomes Sr. pitched as the visitor on several occasions — and the Raiders, who are departing for their swanky new Las Vegas digs next season.
“It’s really cool, when you think about it,” Kansas City’s quarterback said. “But it’s just playing the sports we love, and it just worked that we get to play on the exact same field.”
Mahomes even gets to play on the same dirt. The Coliseum is the last of its generation of dual-purpose stadiums, and that means the infield is still down until the A’s season is over.
“I can say that I played on the exact same field my dad played on at some point,” Mahomes said, “so that’s cool. I played some shortstop, so I’ve had my feet right there.”
SAY MY NAME
Titans safety Kevin Byard (BY-urd) doesn’t think his last name is that hard to pronounce. Now the man with the NFL’s most interceptions since the start of the 2017 season has a plan to fix that.
“I’m going to keep working, I’m going to keep making plays until I don’t have to introduce myself no more,” Byard said. “People are going to be trying to find out what my last name is before they get on TV and do the things they do.”
Byard became the NFL’s highest-paid safety in July just before training camp, and he got his 13th career interception in the Titans’ opening win at Cleveland.
But Rex Ryan, a former NFL coach who now lives in Nashville, called the safety “Byrad” on ESPN’s “Get Up” show and was quickly corrected. Someone shared video of Ryan’s mistake with Byard on Twitter, and the safety responded “BYRAD!?!?” with some laughing emojis. Byard said Wednesday he has no hard feelings toward Ryan, who was showing him and the Titans some love.
And if people keep messing up his name?
“I’m kind of used to it at this point,” Byard said.
GO DAD GO
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been in the NFL so long his oldest sons are now 12 and 10. After games, they want to talk with him mostly about fantasy football.
“Which just drives me insane,” Fitzpatrick says.
The quarterback on the boys’ fantasy team? Their dad.
“You better believe it,” he says with a grin.
Fitzpatrick, 36, has seven children and is glad he has hung around long enough for his oldest boys to enjoy watching him play.
“I think about that a little bit,” Fitzpatrick says, “especially when you’re in a game where it’s a struggle and you’re losing and just trying to continue to do your best.”
That was the case last week, when the Dolphins lost to Baltimore 59-10.
Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Teresa M. Walker, and Sports Writers Dave Skretta and Steven Wine contributed.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL