We have yet another turn in what has been without a doubt the most inspirational story of the NFL season. After being diagnosed with leukemia and undergoing chemotherapy, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is expected to return to the team on Monday and could coach the Colts season finale and their following playoff games.
Bruce Arians says that he’s more than ready to hand the reigns back to Pagano. When asked whether he was ready to step down from being an NFL head coach, you could almost see Arians’ answer before it was coming if you’ve been following the situation.
“Heck yes, I am,” Arians said. “Hopefully we can get this victory and secure our playoff spot and turn it back over to Chuck.”
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who has fully developed as a true leader because of this situation and how he held his team together, is more than just simply excited to see Pagano return.
“It will be great,’’ Luck said. “I’m sure it will be emotional for a lot of people,. But when it comes, and hopefully soon, it’ll be very nice to sort of have our head coach back.’’
But while everyone including Arians is looking forward to and welcoming the chance to have Pagano back, the Colts players who watched Arians step up in an incredibly difficult situation believe he should be properly rewarded for the amazing job he’s done.
“Coach of the Year caliber,’’ linebacker Robert Mathis said. “Nothing short of amazing what he’s done. He’s come in and just kept the train rolling.”
Safety Antoine Bethea says that he can’t wait for Chuck Pagano to return to the sidelines, but he’s also one of the loudest voices in the locker room that Bruce Arians and his efforts should not be quickly forgotten.
“He done a hell of a job with coach being out,’’ Bethea said. “B.A. might get some looks next year (for a head coaching position). He’s done a great job just keeping the team intact, keeping the team focused.’’