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INDIANAPOLIS --Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano told his team before Sunday's game that it needed to focus on getting to .500 rather than winning the game for him.
In an email sent to players earlier this week and released by the Colts during Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, Pagano wrote to players, thanking them for their love and support and insisting he would win his battle with leukemia."On behalf of the Pagano Family, we want to say thank you for all the love and support that you have shown," Pagano wrote. "We can never repay you, but just know that we Love you all and we will always have your backs. We could not get through this without all of you! "You know I am going crazy in here, but nobody understands process better than all of us Colts. "My condition will not determine my position. I understand the condition but choose to focus on my position. That is to stay positive and SERVE."
Pagano has been hospitalized since Sept. 26, and missed Sunday's game as he continued to undergo treatment.
While Colts owner Jim Irsay said Monday that he wanted the team to win so it could deliver a game ball to Pagano, the ailing coach told players to focus on being .500 -- nothing else -- and to have a laser sharp focus against the Packers."We all have a job to do," Pagano wrote. "We know and understand that. That's why we signed up for it. We knew there were going to be tough times. This is not for everybody, but I know deep in my heart we are all here because we're supposed to be. "Focus on being 500 by 4:30pm on Sunday. Nothing else. LASER SHARPE FOCUS. That has to be our mind set. "60 minutes, all you got, one play at a time!" The Colts must have listened, rallying to beat the Packers, 30-27.
Pagano also wrote a letter to Colts fans.
"All the cards, gifts, emails, success stories and prayers that we have been showered with give us a tremendous amount of peace and strength," Pagano wrote. "We could not get through this without you."
Pagano said "all is good" in an email to the Star earlier this week as he remains hospitalized at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center.
"Best care in the world," Pagano wrote to the newspaper. "These people do so much for so many. Most selfless people I know. Thanks to all at IUH!!"
Information from ESPN's Rachel Nichols and The Associated Press was used in this report.