Monday's press conference announcing the return of Chuck Pagano to his full-time duties as head coach was both moving and emotional. Perhaps one of the more memorable moments in Indianapolis Colts history.
Pagano, who'd spent the last three months of his life away from the team and undergoing treatment for leukemia, fought back tears as he literally thanked everyone in the room, from his wife Tina to the cooks who cooked his meals in the hospital to the fans.
"I'm forever in your debt."
He also made it a point of emphasis that "circumstances do not make you. They reveal you." He then applied that phrase to himself and how he continues to work towards a cancer-free life. He also applied it to his football team, repeatedly saying his coaches and players have no quit.
Despite his sobering battle with cancer, which is currently in remission, Pagano took the time to crack a few jokes, even at the expense of the man who took his place while he was away, former-interim coach Bruce Arians. When asked to describe his feeling showing up to work, Pagano joked that he was surprised the security key fob still worked. He then praised Arians for leading the Colts to nine wins in twelve weeks, but then followed up with:
"You had to win nine games, Bruce? Tough act to follow."
Pagano also stated that the best day of his life was his wedding to wife Tina, back in 1989. His second favorite day? His return to the Colts after battling cancer.
"My job as head football coach is just now beginning all over again."
Pagano told the media he is on a strict regiment, provided by his doctors. He also said he and the coaching staff must now turn all their focus to Houston. The Colts face the Texans in the final game of the regular season. Indy already has its playoff seed locked at No. 5. Houston, however, is playing for home field advantage. The Texans have never won in Indianapolis. Ever.
Knowing all this, the whisper around the Colts complex was that Indy might rest starters. The question of resting starters was not asked to Pagano during his presser. However, Jake Query of 1260 WNDE radio in Indy caught up with Arians after the presser, and got this:
I asked Arians if starters will rest. His answer: "We're going in to win. We gotta keep rising".— Jake Query (@jakequery) December 24, 2012
That doesn't sound like resting starters to me.
Pagano is expected to coach from the sidelines on Sunday. It will be the first time he's done that since the Colts heart-breaking 22-17 lose to the Jaguars in Week 3.