INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano spent most of last season finding new ways to coach football.
During his ordeal of chemotherapy treatments for leukemia, he watched games from his bed with his wife, communicated with players and assistants by phone and text messages and scoured game film on his home computer. The Colts responded with one of the greatest turnarounds in league history and an improbable run to the playoffs.
On Monday, the Professional Football Writers Association selected Indianapolis’ inspirational coach as its George Halas Award winner for overcoming adversity.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Pagano said in a statement released by the team. “The encouragement I received from my family, friends, the Irsay family, the Colts’ organization, the city of Indianapolis and fans around the country was overwhelming. The outpouring of prayers, love and support from a community that hardly knew me, made me realize how fortunate and proud I am to serve this organization and city.”
Hired in January 2012, Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia in September and took a leave of absence after only three games.
The team began winning under offensive coordinator Bruce Arians while Pagano underwent treatment for 12 weeks.
Under their guidance, the young Colts rebounded from a 2-14 mark in 2011 to 11-5 in 2012.
BENGALS: Cincinnati will star in the training camp documentary show “Hard Knocks” for the second time in five NFL seasons.
HBO announced the Bengals would be featured in the popular series, which premieres Aug. 6. Cincinnati last appeared in 2009. The Miami Dolphins were last season’s team.
The eighth season of “Hard Knocks” will air five episodes on Tuesday nights through Sept. 3.
PACKERS: Green Bay released linebacker Desmond Bishop.
The move was expected as a cost-saving measure. Bishop was due to make $3.46 million this season after missing all of last year with a hamstring injury.
A CONTRITE Chad Johnson apologized for disrespecting a judge when he slapped his attorney on the backside in court last week and was released from jail after only a week instead of 30 days.
Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh accepted Johnson’s apology and cut back his jail term for a probation violation to the seven days he had already served since the rear-swatting. Johnson, a flamboyant wide receiver formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, said in court that he’d had time to think about why his flippant attitude was wrong — especially in a domestic violence case.