Indianapolis Colts Chuck Pagano: under the radar in ’13

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano; who took leave for a few months last season when he was diagnosed with leukemia. The 53 year old had to endure a multi-week stay in the hospital for chemotherapy treatment. The team rallied around him with the #chuckstrong motto. Team cheerleaders even shaved their heads to show solidarity with Chuck Pagano. And once he was cleared by doctors, his last round of chemotherapy, he returned to coaching, just in time for the NFL playoffs.

Chuck Pagano also gave one hell of a pregame speech last year. It made me one hell of a Colts fan; and of course a fan of Chuck Pagano.

Because I have walked in Pagano’s shoes; at exactly the same time too. I’ve been in the same boat as him.

Pagano’s leukemia is in remission. Doctors won’t know for at least 3-5 years whether he’s cured or not. If it stays in remission that long, then he’s in the clear. Deservedly so, his story dominated NFL headlines in 2012. However, Chuck Pagano and the Colts are a sleeper team in 2013. They’re just as good, if not better than 2012, but they’re flying under the radar.

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They’re 6-2, and in first place in the AFC South. The win last night on Sunday Night Football, in front of a national audience, was ugly. They needed to be bailed out by one of the worst performances by a placekicker in NFL history. Randy Bullock went 1-4 as his Houston Texans fell to 2-6. Squeaking by a bad team aside, Chuck Pagano has Indy on pace to finish 14-2. Yet the national media isn’t talking about him all that much.

Chuck Pagano with Bob Costas

On Reggie Wayne: “You just can’t replace a Reggie Wayne. His leadership is going to be missed. Obviously what you see on game day, what the public sees, is one thing. But what you don’t see is Monday through Saturday is just; it’s a huge hit for all of us.”

On Andrew Luck being unique (size, athleticism, intelligence): “Absolutely. Everything that you just said makes him very, very special. He’s a linebacker, mentality wise, playing quarterback. He gets a little bit jittery. In college, he would always go out a little bit early in the game and take off running on purpose (to get hit) just to get the cobwebs out or whatever. And now we’ve kind of said, look, we really can’t afford to have you doing that at this level, Andrew. So, (joking) if you need me to slap you around before the game or start head butting somebody on the sideline, why don’t we try that.”

andrew luck

On younger brother and Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano: “Before the game is really the only time, shake hands, give a hug here or there. My record is not very good vs. my little brother. I think I’m 1-8 now. He doesn’t rub it in. We’re good about that. I did it the one win that I got.”

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the world; with regular weekly segments on NBC, CBS and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and RSS

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