The team held what they hope is their final practice with out head coach Chuck Pagano on Friday afternoon. Pagano expected to be back at work on Monday after his doctor recently cleared him to return. Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians can’t say for sure if Pagano will be ready to coach after going through weeks of treatment in a battle against Leukmia.
“I think once he decides that he’s coming back and he’s full bore, that’s what it is. He’s not going to come back unless he’s ready to go. He knows what this grind is and what we’re getting into. He knows he’s ready if he comes back.”
The Colts locker room has truly been inspired by Pagano’s ability to fight the disease. He’s gone through three rounds of chemotherapy and now his cancer is in remission.
“I already knew what kind of guy he was before all this stuff took place. Just him being able to come back and fight through this does not surprise me. I know he was going to be the ultimate warrior to beat this. Now that he’s cleared to come back, it doesn’t surprise me at all. I’m just happy for him to get back here and like I said, hopefully we can continue to extend the season for him and continue to win games,” said wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
If Pagano returns the Colts want to make sure he has more then just the regular season finale against Houston to coach on the sidelines. That’s why this weekends game against Kansas City is so important, if they win the Colts are in the playoffs.
“For him to come back, he has to be 100 percent healthy and all that. Basically he’s done. He’s here and the whole goal is not just for him to be on the sideline with us for one game but to make our mark to go in here, get on fire and do what we’ve got to do to prolong his appearance on the sideline. Go as long as we can in these playoffs. Anything can happen when you’re in. We have yet to do a whole lot of things as a team and everybody can kind of read in between the lines on that. I believe this is about the time for guys to catch fire and do what we have to do,” said defensive end Cory Redding.
8 o’clock on Monday morning is the day players are waiting for, that’s when the Colts will hold a team meeting hopefully with Pagano doing all the talking as their head coach.