One of the coolest things that Colts.com brings fans each week is the opportunity to look inside the locker room after wins. This past Sunday was no different, and the locker room was jubilant following a 27-0 shutout of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Head coach Chuck Pagano praised Greg Manusky, the defensive staff, and the defensive players for their efforts, saying that the entire defense will get a game ball for their performances. Pagano also presented game balls to running backs Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw, both of whom had great games on Sunday. There was one last game ball that Pagano wanted to present, and it was to team owner Jim Irsay.
"One more game ball," Pagano said, via the Colts.com video. "I know I speak on behalf of everybody - so damn good to have you back with us, side by side, going to war with you, going to battle. We got your back. You've got all of ours, you've always got all of ours. And what you did for me, and what you've done for player upon player upon player past or present - you've got a heart of gold, Jim. You're one of the most giving persons I've ever been around in my entire life, and I know to a man there's not nobody in this room who wouldn't do anything for you, take a bullet for you, Jim. Welcome back."
The players all erupted in cheers and began chanting for a speech, and Irsay obliged.
"Guys, thank you so much, Coach, thanks so much," Irsay said (again via the Colts.com video). "You guys know how much you mean to me and how much this game means to me, and thank you so much for thinking about me. You know I missed you guys, but I want to say that there's something special in this room, and if we can keep our focus and play football like that, that is special in this league. Thank you so much, and more than your words I appreciate your heart and everything you guys emanate toward me. I'm humbled by it, and I just love this game and I love you guys. God bless and thank you so much."
Irsay recently returned from an NFL mandated six-game suspension following his arrest earlier this year. Those of us who know the team know just how much Irsay loves being around and loves being an owner, and we know what he means to many in the organization. Chuck Pagano was seemingly fighting back his emotions when talking abut how much Irsay means to him personally in the locker room after the game. Irsay loves being around the team, and while on the field the Colts played well while he was away, things seem right now that Irsay is back in the complex and at the games. As such, Chuck Pagano found it fitting to present him with the game ball - after the 500th win in franchise history (Baltimore and Indianapolis combined), nonetheless.
If you haven't already, check out the Colts.com post-game locker room video here.