With the news that head coach Chuck Pagano will be away from the Indianapolis Colts for an indefinite amount of time after being diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia, the reins of the team have been handed to a man who knows what Pagano is going through.
Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, himself a survivor of prostate cancer, will take over as the Colts interim coach, perhaps for the remainder of the season while Pagano undergoes treatment and begins his recovery.
“I was floored,” Arians told the Indianapolis Star on Monday. “I was down South at my house in Georgia, just getting ready to come back on a flight when he called. He was chatting like he was always chatting.
“Then he drops the news on me.”
Arians recalled his own cancer battle in 2007 when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, saying, “That phone call is not a fun one. They kept telling me there’s nothing wrong, nothing wrong. Then the doctor calls you and tells you you’ve got cancer.
“You really don’t remember the next 24 hours. … True. I couldn’t hardly drive home. It was just devastating to get that message.”
Arians says he knows Pagano will fight the disease and can win the battle, as others, including owner Jim Irsay, also spoke on the matter when the news broke Monday.
“I feel with every fiber in my body, and I know Chuck feels the same way, that he can beat this thing,” Irsay said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Pagano too as he begins his fight.
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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com