LUTZ, Fla. -- Tony Dungy recalled his son as a ''good, young man with a compassionate heart," someone who loved to smile and have fun.
''All you had to do was be nice to him," the Indianapolis Colts coach said yesterday, straining to compose himself and blinking back tears while remembering 18-year-old James, who died last week in an apparent suicide.
NFL stars past and present, league officials, including commissioner Paul Tagliabue, and the entire Colts team were among the hundreds of mourners who came to Idlewild Baptist Church in suburban Tampa for the two-hour service.
''It didn't take much for Jamie to be your friend," his dad said.
Following the service, Dungy made a brief statement outside the church and, on behalf of his wife, Lauren, and family, thanked friends and fans for their support.
''We loved our son very much, he loved us, and we miss him terribly. James was a good young man with a compassionate heart and we were glad to have him for 18 years. God has him now for the rest of eternity," he said.
Dungy left the team last Thursday, the day his son was found, and it was uncertain when he would return. He said the family's faith ''will allow us to get through this just as we get through times of victory."
The coach had a message for his players, too, calling them some of the greatest role models in the country and urging them to reach out to young people.
He also cautioned parents against taking their children for granted. He recalled Thanksgiving, which was the last time he saw his son as the teen rushed off to the airport.
''Parents, hug your kids every chance you get," he said. ''Tell them you love them. You never know when it will be your last time."
Before the service, six chartered buses carrying Colts players, coaches and staff streamed into the parking lot of the church with a police escort. Quarterback Peyton Manning arrived separately.
Players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom Dungy coached from 1996 to 2000, were among those on hand, along with owner Malcolm 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 were there, as were coaches Herman Edwards of the New York Jets and Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears, both former assistants under Dungy in Tampa Bay, and coaches Dennis Green of the Arizona Cardinals and Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
''I think the biggest thing for me is letting coach Dungy know how much he meant to me," former Bucs punter Mark Royals said. ''He's a special guy and I wanted him to know I cared."
''I don't know of many people -- maybe none -- who inspired me to be a better person like he has done. I speak for a lot of people when I say that."
James Dungy was found unresponsive in his apartment by his girlfriend. He was pronounced dead shortly afterward at University Community Hospital.
A preliminary autopsy report Friday indicated the teen took his own life, but the cause of death won't be released until a toxicology examination is finished.