Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who began treatment in September for a curable form of leukemia, might be on the sidelines for the National Football League team’s Dec. 30 regular-season finale, SI.com reported.
“I don’t know if it can happen, but that’s the goal,” interim coach Bruce Arians said last night in an interview, according to the website.
Pagano, 52, began treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia on Sept. 26 and Colts owner Jim Irsay said on Oct. 1 that it was “unlikely that he will be all-in as a head coach this season.” Pagano’s next round of treatment will be “brutal,” Arians said, according to SI.
“Though Coach Pagano still has a long way to go, we are optimistically hopeful that he will be healthy enough to participate in some capacity later in the season,” Avis Roper, a spokesman for the team, said in an e-mail.
Arian’s comments followed Pagano’s first appearance at a game since beginning treatment, a 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins that raised the Colts’ record to 5-3. Indianapolis finished 2-14 last season.
Pagano spoke with his players both before and after the contest. In an emotion-filled locker-room speech that followed the victory, he said he would rebound from the cancer to celebrate family milestones and someday lift the Lombardi Trophy, which is given to the Super Bowl champion.
“I got circumstances, you guys understand it, I understand it,” Pagano told his team. “My vision is that I’m living to see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings and then hoist that Lombardi several times.”
The Colts trail the Houston Texans (7-1) by two games in the American Football Conference South Division. They host Houston on Dec. 30 to conclude the regular season.