Ex-Ravens coordinator battling leukemia

The AFC North blog wants to wish Colts head coach Chuck Pagano a full and speedy recovery as he battles acute promyelocytic leukemia.

During my time with Pagano, who spent four years with the Ravens, including one year as their defensive coordinator, you quickly learned that he was a fighter.

He wasn't afraid to get into his players' faces for a heated exchange on the sideline. As an assistant at East Carolina, he challenged a linebacker to a wrestling match -- and won. Pagano was also known for trash talking in racquetball games. His fiery spirit goes back to the days when he walked on to the Wyoming football team and left as a two-year starter with a reputation for hitting players bigger than him.

It was that aggressive mindset and defensive schemes that helped Pagano reached one of his goals this year, when he was named head coach of the Colts. It was his first head-coaching position after 28 years of being a coordinator, position coach and graduate assistant.

Pagano, who turns 52 on Tuesday, isn't expected to return in a regular full-time capacity this season, although the prognosis for a full recovery is promising. He will undergo four to six months of treatment, including chemotherapy. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has been named interim coach.

Cards and notes of support be sent to Pagano at the Colts' headquarters: P.O. Box 53500, Indianapolis, IN 46253. No flowers will be accepted.