Sunday, May 19, 2013
The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS — It took Chuck Pagano less than nine months to instill his fighter's mentality and hopeful spirit in the Indianapolis Colts.
He will need both to survive the biggest battle of his life -- leukemia.
In a somber news conference Monday, the Colts announced that their new coach had been hospitalized for cancer treatment and probably wouldn't return to full coaching duties this season. He will be replaced on an interim basis by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
"He will do fine," Arians said, his voice cracking as he recalled his own fight with prostate cancer in 2007. "I know him. He's a fighter. He's survived tough times already in his life. As a cancer survivor myself, I know that these first few days are really hard on you, but as he and I talked (Sunday), it's just a matter of time."
It didn't take long for the Colts to figure out how to pay tribute to the first-time head coach who rekindled excitement in the locker room and around town after the Colts' awful 2-14 season a year ago.
"I asked Mr. Irsay (Jim, the owner) if we would leave the light on in his office permanently till he comes back and we're going to do that," Arians said.
The news trickled out one day before Pagano's 52nd birthday.
Pagano was admitted to an Indianapolis hospital last Wednesday to begin treatments for acute promyelocytic leukemia. He will be treated with chemotherapy and drugs, according to his doctor. The process usually requires patients to spend four to five weeks in the hospital, but Irsay said he expected Pagano to stay a bit longer.
Indianapolis (1-2) will be home Sunday against the Green Bay Packers (2-2).