Lynch emotional about former coach’s loss

By FRANK SCHWAB THE GAZETTE Updated: December 23, 2005 at 12:00 am • Published: December 23, 2005
ENGLEWOOD - Denver Broncos safety John Lynch got a phone call at 5 a.m. Thursday from the wife of Tampa Bay fullback Mike Alstott, telling him Tony Dungy’s 18-year-old son James was dead. Dungy, who is the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, was Lynch’s coach from 1996 to 2001 with the Buccaneers and Lynch has remained close to Dungy. Lynch was emotional as he talked about James Dungy’s death in the locker room after practice. “It’s obviously a tragic situation,” Lynch said. “I have very fond memories. When Tony first came to Tampa he’d always have his kids in the locker room and James would be in there, and he was probably 8 years old. Those are the memories I’ll keep. They’re a wonderful family.” Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he talked about Dungy’s situation with his team after practice. He said he told the players to make sure they took time to reach out to family members, even though the players are busy with the season. Dungy is well-liked and respected around the league, and Shanahan expressed sympathy to him. “Our prayers and thoughts are with his family,” Shanahan said. More practice After practice, the Broncos tight ends stayed on the field for a couple of minutes to dunk a few footballs over the crossbar. The exercise was a barb at rookie Wesley Duke, whose celebratory dunk attempt after a touchdown Saturday at Buffalo got hung up on the crossbar. “We’re getting a little extra practice catching passes, running routes, a little dunking,” Duke said. Cold conditions The Broncos probably won’t have to deal with cold temperatures for Saturday’s game against Oakland, but they probably will play at least one more cold-weather game this season. The good news for Denver is quarterback Jake Plummer handled the 28-degree temperatures in Buffalo very well. He completed 20 of 37 passes for 259 yards and no interceptions. “Jake handled the game very well under some tough conditions,” Shanahan said.
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