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Chuck Pagano, Colts coach, diagnosed with leukemia
“He’s going to be greatly missed, there’s no question about it in terms of his intensity, his energy, his leadership, the things that made him the candidate that (general manager) Ryan (Grigson) and I selected ultimately as our head coach,” Irsay said. “I know in meeting with the team, in meeting with the coaches, there’s nothing more than we want to get that Green Bay game ball and have a victory game ball and be able to walk that into the hospital and put that in his hands. That’s our goal.”
Last year, after losing ironman Peyton Manning for the entire season because of multiple neck surgeries, one of the preseason’s Super Bowl favorite was terrible and wound up with the No. 1 draft pick and the impetus to rebuild. Manning, the longtime face of the franchise, and a handful of other fan favorites were released in March as the Colts embarked on a major rebuilding project — a project Pagano had been expected to oversee in the next big chapter of his family’s coaching legacy.
Pagano’s father, Sam, won three Colorado state championships as a high school coach but never took a college or pro job. Pagano’s younger brother, John, is the defensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers.
While the Colts attempted to take a business-as-usual approach at Monday’s practice, nothing was the same.
Grigson was still trying to figure out how the coaching duties will be handled during Pagano’s absence, and the talk about statistics focused on things of far greater significance than offensive or defensive rankings.
“This is not an easy day for all of us,” said Arians, a longtime NFL assistant who has never been a head coach. “Not the way that I had ever dreamed about addressing a group like this. But I know we are going to get through it.”
“We are very optimistic. Chuck is a fighter,” Grigson said. “As we talked to the players this morning, the best medicine for him is for the team to continue to fight four quarters and to show him what he said is still in existence and it will be.”
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
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Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again