It was a sad day today as team owner Jim Irsay announced that I Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia and will likely miss the remainder of the 2012 season while undergoing treatment. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has been named the interim head coach.
It’s a big blow for the team to lose the man Irsay hand-picked to build this team back up from the ashes of the disaster that was the 2011 season. But it’s even a bigger blow to Pagano and his family. Pagano is serving in his first head coaching position at any level in his career, coming to the Colts after serving as the Raven’s defensive coordinator last year.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the type of leukemia Pagano has been diagnosed is “highly treatable,” and patients who undergo treatment tend to achieve remission in 80 to 90% of cases. Plenty of people from not only Colts Nation but around the National Football League itself will be pulling for Pagano to pull through this as soon as possible.
It’s just the latest (and by far the worst) case of bad luck since the Colts re-signed Peyton Manning to a 5-year $95 million contract before the 2011 season. As we all now, Manning never played a snap for the first time in his professional career, the Colts won a total of 2 games, and cut or refused to re-sign the majority of a veteran team that went to two Super Bowls in four years, winning it all in 2006. This year, the Colts have been hit hard by player injuries, including but not limited to NT Brandon McKinney, G Ben Ijalana, Austin Collie, Pat Angerer, and Dwight Freeney. This will have to be another case that the Colts will have to try and rally around.
But more importantly, we all need to hope for coach Pagano’s recovery from this disease. Football – even in the multi-billion NFL – is still just a game. This is Chuck Pagano’s life, and for his sake and his family’s sake, he needs to get better.
As reported by the Indianapolis Star and ESPN.com (among others), cards and notes of well-wishers can be mailed to the Colts headquarters at P.O. Box 53500, Indianapolis, IN 46253. No flowers will be accepted.
Follow me on Twitter @expertfan1