Former Colts coach Chuck Pagano returns to Indianapolis


INDIANAPOLIS, IN – JANUARY 01: Head coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts watches action during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — After six up-and-down seasons as the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach, Chuck Pagano needed a break. He traveled, spent time with his family around the country but was ready to get back into football. The Chicago Bears called, and the team’s new defensive coordinator returns to Indy when the Bears visit the Colts Saturday night.

Will the emotions and excitement return when he returns to Lucas Oil Stadium?

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t going to be any,” said Pagano at a news conference Wednesday. “Once we get down there and step out on the field, go through all the pre-game stuff, shake all the hands, do all the high-fives and stuff, it’s still a business trip and we’ve got a game to play, but [I] had six great years there and a lot of fond memories, so it’ll be pretty cool.”

Pagano often says he will always love Indianapolis, and there’s a handful of good reasons.

“People always talk about Hoosier hospitality, and I had the opportunity to live it, and I can appreciate it. Just really, really good people. I was only there a short time before I was diagnosed with leukemia, and for that city and community to embrace me and support me and my family through that whole journey was truly amazing. They didn’t have to do that, but it speaks to the good in this world, and I was fortunate to be where I was at the time.”

Much of the Bears’ media will be covering the game this weekend, so Pagano was quick to list some of his favorite restaurants. “St. Elmo’s, you always gotta try it. Illinois Street, you walk couple blocks and it’s Ruth Chris, then there Capital Grille at the Conrad, and if you just want burger and fries, there’s Steak and Shake, I highly recommend that.”

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