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.