Dungy's presence still lingers for Colts' low-key Caldwell

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By Steve Ginsburg

Jim Caldwell, who has taken the reins from the soft-spoken, deeply religious Dungy and has the Colts playing in Sunday's Super Bowl, readily tips his hat to his predecessor.

"More so than anything else Tony's impact on us is more how he lives his life, not necessarily what he says," Caldwell told reporters Thursday.

"That more so than anything else was extremely important. He modeled it out, in terms of being a Christian, in terms of being a man of faith, every single day in the way he lived.

"I worked with him for eight years and I never heard him raise his voice, not one time. And I'm not saying there weren't times when he didn't get upset or angry about a situation, but he was always able to keep it under control."

In his first season on the job, Caldwell led the Colts to a 14-2 regular-season record and a berth in the Super Bowl against NFC champions, the New Orleans Saints.

Yet in many ways, the former assistant remains in the shadow of Dungy, one of the league's top coaches and winner of the Super Bowl after the 2006 season when the Colts stopped the Chicago Bears, 29-17.

That is perhaps because like Dungy, he is religious and rarely yells to get his point across. Caldwell said the team responds to faith in the locker room.

"The big thing is you just have be yourself," said the 55-year-old coach. "If (the players) understand that you're honest and straightforward about your faith and you demonstrate it by the way in which you live, they accept it.

"The other fact of the matter is that we have a number of guys on the team that are also men of faith as well. We have a pretty strong nucleus of guys that certainly think the same way."

Caldwell said the team had won their games without needing inspirational rants.

"I don't get angry very often," he said. "You obviously, as a competitor, certainly get upset about some things that maybe aren't going so well.

"That will come out sometimes -- probably on our Wednesday talks more than anything else when you start to sum up what we see in terms of our opponent.

"Nevertheless, this game does not take great speech makers. It's not inspiration by exhortation. I'm not an individual that's gifted with golden-throated oratory.

"We like to keep it simple and straight forward. Our team responds to that."

(Editing by Ian Ransom; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)