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Irsay must pay Manning a $28 million bonus by March 8 or the four-time league MVP, who turns 36 in March, could become an unrestricted free agent after having three neck surgeries in 19 months. The Colts have the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, which most expect to be used on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Either way, Pagano should have a solid foundation on offense.

And with his defensive pedigree, the Colts are hoping for a big jump from a unit that ranked near the bottom of the league.

“What makes him good? He relates to the players a whole lot,” Baltimore defensive end Cory Redding said. “He’s almost like a player in a D-coordinator’s position. The guy has so much fun with us. He treats you like more than a player. It’s like we’re his sons. He wants us to do well. He keeps it fresh. He knows everybody’s strengths and puts them in position to make plays.”

Pagano spent three years as the Ravens‘ secondary coach before replacing Bryan Mattison as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator a year ago. The Ravens ranked third in total defense and allowed the third-fewest points in the NFL last season.

The Wyoming graduate and former strong safety for the Cowboys began his coaching career in 1984 as a graduate assistant at Southern California and spent time at in the college ranks at Boise State, UNLV, East Carolina and Miami before joining Cleveland to coach the secondary. In 2005-06, he was defensive backs job at Oakland, then served as defensive coordinator at North Carolina before joining the Ravens when John Harbaugh became head coach four years ago.

Chuck is unorthodox,” Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “He’s like The Joker. You never really expect what he’s going to do, and everything has a motive.”

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AP Sports Writer David Ginsburg in Baltimore contributed to this report.