Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Report: Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano Diagnosed With Leukemia, Out 4-6 Weeks

Pagano was reportedly diagnosed with leukemia during the bye week and is staying at a local Indianapolis hospital. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is the interim head coach while Pagano recovers.

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Send a 'get well' card to coach

For those of you who wish to send coach Chuck Pagano at "get well" card while he undergoes treatment for leukemia, the team has stated that such support can be mailed to the Colts complex.

Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, P.O. Box 535000, Indianapolis, IN 46253

Colts presser notes regarding Pagano illness

The Indianapolis Colts held at press conference today at 10:30 am ET to discuss and any questions regarding head coach Chuck Pagano's recent cancer diagnosis. Speakers at the presser included owner Jim Irsay, general manager Ryan Grigson, interim head coach Bruce Arians, and Dr. Larry Cripe of Indiana University's Health Simon Cancer Center.

These were our notes and observations from the presser.

Colts owner Jim Irsay and Dr. Larry Cripe

  • Irsay spoke first. He said Pagano is very upbeat, alert, and annoyed that he cannot get back to work. He even expressed frustration to Irsay (which Irsay joked a little about) that NFL Network was not available in his hospital room. Irsay said he'd do what he could to get coach some football in his room.
  • Irsay then introduced Dr. Cripe. Cripe said Pagano met with him on Wednesday of last week after Pagano had sustained some bruising that was consistent with leukemia.
  • Pagnao was hospitalized that Wednesday.
  • Cripe described the treatment for the illness as "long and complicated, and we're just starting now." He also used the term "arduous" to describe what Pagano will go through as he works to get better.
  • Cripe: The goal is to cure the disease and return Pagano to the life he wants, coaching football.
  • Cripe: Pagano's cancer is of the bone marrow tissue. There is strong likelihood of remission. No bone marrow transplant is required. However, transfusions and chemotherapy are.
  • Cripe did not know when Pagano will feel well enough to coach again. The current phase of his treatment is 4-6 weeks. Most people with this type of leukemia have strong likelihood of remission, but Pagano will be in treatment of some kind for the nest two years.
  • Pagano is isolated in the hospital in a "protective environment" at hospital with filtered air. Pagano's wife, Tina, is staying with him at the hospital.

Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson

  • Grigson spoke after Cripe left the podium. Said the best medicine for Pagano is for Colts team to fight for four quarters. Called Pagano a "fighter."
  • Grigson said the choice of Bruce Arians as the interim head coach was "quick." Arians has a "brotherhood" with Pagano and the team. Arians will "carry torch."

Interim head coach Bruce Arians

  • Arians addressed media after Grigson. He was very emotional, fighting back tears.
  • Arians revealed to media that he is a cancer survivor himself, and that these first few days for Pagano will be very hard as he undergoes chemo.
  • Arians did not take questions, but said he will do so after practice.

Irsay and Grigson

  • Both returned to the podium after Arians left and answered more questions.
  • The coaching staff changes are "still evolving," said Grigson. Arians may delegate offensive playcalling to another coach. Grigson gave no further details.
  • Irsay iterated that this type of thing is rare in NFL, a head coach having a serious illness like this so early in a season.
  • Irsay said that is was Pagano who requested that everything regarding his illness be upfront and honest with media, coaches, and fans. Said that there was no reason not to be truthful and upfront. No reason for reporters to go "gold digging."

The press conference concluded with Irsay asking media and fans to show their support for Pagano as he fights this illness.


Bruce Arians will act as interim head coach

At the press conference today detailing Colts head coach Chuck Pagano's acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) diagnosis, it was announced that while Pagano is recovering, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will act as the team's interim head coach.

Arians, who spoke briefly to media while fighting back tears, revealed that he is a cancer survivor himself, and that these first few days for Pagano, as he undergoes chemotherapy treatment, will be "very hard."

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson told media that more changes to the coaching staff are possible while Arians assumes this new role. What those changes are, Grigson could not say. Colts owner Jim Irsay stated at the press conference that no assistant coaches outside of Arians were informed of Pagano's illness until this morning.

Per a request from Arians and the team, Pagano's office light will remain on until he returns.

Pagano is expected to be in an isolation environment at a local Indianapolis hospital for 4-6 weeks. Pagano's wife, Tina, is allowed to stay with him in the hospital.

Jim Irsay stated at the presser that this sort of situation is unprecedented in the NFL, to have a head coach be diagnosed with such an illness early in the season. Irsay stressed that Pagano is very upbeat, and asked fans and media to offer their support to the coach while he recovers.


Chuck Pagano must spend 4-6 weeks in isolation

As part of his treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano must spend 4-6 weeks in isolation at a local Indianapolis hospital. Why? Well, per Ian Rapoport of, chemotherapy treatments for the leukemia create a low blood count that increases possibility of serious infection. Thus, Pagano must be isolated from human contact.

Word out of the Colts complex is that the news of Pagano's illness is devastating to the players. Some fought back tears when they hear Apparently, even though he's only been on the job since March 2012, Pagano is extremely well-liked by most in the organization.

The positive here is that this form of leukemia is considered "very treatable."

Pagano himself is reportedly very upbeat, texting people like Chris Mortensen that he "will be back soon."

It's obviously good to hear that coach is staying positive and working with his doctors on his treatment. Pagano was apparently feeling fatigued of late, and he used the Colts bye week to go in for blood tests. The tests revealed the leukemia.

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