The inquiries were not about bouncing back from a loss, the Chiefs or possible playoff scenarios.
Instead, Colts players fielded questions about the potential return of their friend, and head coach, Chuck Pagano to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
“It’s going to be crazy,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “It’s going to be a great moment, just having him back on an everyday basis with the team, knowing that’s what he really wants, back with us coaching and back on the sideline. Obviously we know it’s going to be emotional. It’s going to be a great time.”
The definite date of when Pagano returns has not been determined but interim head coach Bruce Arians said the goal remains for sometime next week.
While his message has remained with the Colts players, having Pagano’s physical presence around the facility will be a welcoming sight.
“We are so blessed to have a leader like Chuck,” offensive guard Joe Reitz said. “We’ve all been praying for him and are glad that things have gone well. I think we all look forward to the day when he’s back in there, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Arians also mentioned that he is looking forward to the day when his head coach will be back doing what he has longed to do.
With Arians in the interim role, the Colts are 8-3 and the players made sure to point out what an incredible job the offensive coordinator has done under unforeseen circumstances.
“Coach of the Year caliber,” outside linebacker Robert Mathis said of Arians’ performance. “Nothing short of amazing what he’s done. He’s came in and just kept the train rolling. Kudos to him.”
When the announcement of Pagano’s diagnosis came on Oct. 1, Arians stood in front of cameras and did not speak long, but brought a powerful message.
“If Chuck can’t make it back for the regular season, why can’t we extend the season? Play a few more games until he gets back,” Arians said back on Oct. 1.
With two games remaining in the regular season the Colts are in position to not only extend the season for Chuck, but also have a chance to get their head coach back for the season finale at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It would mean the world to us,” Mathis said of Pagano’s return. “Just for him to fight this, well he’s not fighting it alone, we are here, heart and mind and souls are with him. He’s coming back to whip this thing and get back to work.”
Tags: antoine bethea, bruce arians, chuck pagano, joe reitz, robert mathis
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