One of the most devastating and inspirational stories of this NFL season forever will be the story of Chuck Pagano. It’s hard enough to become a first time NFL head coach in this day and age, but imagine doing it with Leukemia. Since being diagnosed and treated for the disease, Pagano has made strides in his recovery and his team has rallied behind him.
As a reward for the fight and the support, we may get the happiest payoff of all this season, as Chuck Pagano could return tot he Colts sideline for the season finale on December 30th.
If that Packers game was emotional, one’s hard pressed to imagine there being a dry eye in the house if Pagano returns to the sideline a healthy and recovering man so soon after receiving such devastating and life altering news. But interim head coach Bruce Arians has stated that he believes Pagano will be back for that game, and has stated in the past that if he’s not the Colts simply need to extend the season to give him more time.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Pagano is ahead of schedule with his treatment and his final chemotherapy treatment is this upcoming Friday.
There is no guarantee that Pagano will be ready to coach the finale, but even if the Colts are fighting for something and the game is meaningful, the powerful gesture of having him coaching, even if he’s not doing a lot of work, is just amazing to picture. We like to talk about battles and such when discussing football like we do. But Pagano had a real battle and his struggle was not confined to 60 minutes, and a lot more was on the line than a win or a loss.
And he’s won that battle. He may never become a Hall of Fame head coach, but he’s a guy no one will ever forget — and he won’t have to be forgotten anytime soon either.