Monday was a day of thanks for Chuck Pagano.
As the Colts head coach stood before media and members of the organization, he continually thanked those that had helped him over the past three months get back to doing what he loves.
The outreach of gratitude Pagano received from the surrounding community came up frequently during his press conference on Monday.
“I know this and I knew this the day that Mr. Irsay offered me this job and Ryan (Grigson) and I was fortunate enough and blessed enough to have this opportunity and came to Indiana. I knew it was a great place and an outstanding organization,” Pagano said.
“If you are going to have to go through something like we went through, there is no place that I’d rather be than right here, as a Colt, living in this great state of Indiana, going through this with everybody in this room and everybody that supported us throughout this great state, city and community. I’ll forever be in debt to each and every one of you. There is no better place.”
Pagano has called Indianapolis home since January and during his treatment he received thousands of messages from people all across the state.
One particular message still resonates with Pagano and he told the story on Monday afternoon.
“I got a letter from a nine-year old that was diagnosed when he was sick. He’s now in remission and cancer-free. He was smart enough to tell me, ‘Coach, you can beat this. But your attitude has got to be really good. You’ve got to be really kind to your nurses, they mean well. I know you’re not going to feel good but be very nice to them. Make sure you chew on ice, Coach, when you’re taking your chemo, it will help you so you don’t get the sores in your mouth. I prefer strawberry popsicles, you might want to try those Coach, that’s what I did.’ So to everybody out there, just the same things, it’s your faith and it’s your belief and it’s your will.”
It’s stories like that, which helped Pagano deal with the struggles of being away from his team since late September.
He now will return to the sideline on Sunday afternoon, in front of a city that has embraced him and a place that he is proud to call ‘home.’
“Like I said earlier, if you’re going to have to go through something, I know exactly why I’m here now,” Pagano said.
“This is the place you’d want to be, starting with our owner and on down. These are the finest people I’ve ever been around in my entire life and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Posted in Colts Blog