It’s was stunning and sad to learn that Colts coach Chuck Pagano has leukemia.
The organization he’s helping rebuild will rally around him in a massive way, and all we can do is hope that has some positive effect. That’s not going to trump the disease, the treatment or the medicine. But it can help to bolster Pagano’s fighter mentality, and we all know people and instances where fortitude seems to have helped someone in fighting an illness.
"I am optimistic. I feel with every fiber of my body, and I know Chuck feels, that he can beat this thing," owner Jim Irsay said.
Said Colts GM Ryan Grigson, per Reggie Hayes of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: "Chuck has helped lay the foundation of family, trust, loyalty and respect, and in a short time, we feel that foundation is strong enough to shoulder these trying times. Chuck is a fighter. As we talked to the players this morning, we said the best medicine for him is to continue to fight for four quarters and show him what he has said is still in existence, and will continue to be."
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who has survived skin cancer, will take over as head coach. The team is not expecting Pagano to be able to return this season as the all-in head coach.
In a nice gesture, Arians said the Colts will leave the light on in Pagano’s office until he returns.
Pagano was reportedly dealing with fatigue back in training camp, but figured it was the combination of hard work and hot sun.
How we wish that were the case.
Instead, he’s been in intensive care since Wednesday, taking on something far more difficult and far more important than piecing together a rebuilding football team.
We wish him the very best.
While we’ll look for periodic updates and hope they’ll be positive, we encourage fans and media to send encouraging cards and to resist any temptation to disturb him or his family.
The Colts ask that cards and notes of support be sent to Pagano at their headquarters: P.O. Box 53500, Indianapolis, IN 46253. (No flowers will be accepted.)