Even though the Indianapolis Colts had off until Wednesday after Christmas, there was no rest for the coaching staff. In fact, there was just as much media stirring at the Colts complex on Christmas eve, then there has been all year long. After a third round of leukemia treatment, head coach Chuck Pagano returned to work on Monday, and the entire place was bustling all day long.
Pagano began his first day back by having a meeting with his coaching staff, just as he would Monday week following a game. Shortly after the morning meeting, the regularities of a Monday work day ceased for the coach. This was no regular day of meetings and preparation for this Sunday’s game, neither was it even a normal Christmas Eve. Monday marked the return of Pagano to work full-time for the first time since late September, which also brought a sense of closure to one of the most inspiring stories in the NFL this year.
The Indianapolis Colts complex of west 56th street in Indianapolis was overrun with both local and national media. After the early morning meeting, Pagano then addressed the rest of the world, in a televised press conference that was broadcast live on several networks. With Colts owner Jim Irsay and general manager Ryan Grigson by his side, an emotional Pagano expressed his appreciation for everyone from his nurses, to the fans, the franchise, and even the media. In a speech that last nearly half an hour, the head coach let everyone know how much the support had meant to him, and how much he wants to spend time spreading confidence and support to others in situations similar to his.
After the initial press conference, Pagano did no less than three other media interviews throughout the day. ESPN, the NFL Network, and local television stations were all clamouring to get a few words from the returning Colts head coach. Pagano even took time out to do an interview for a local sports radio station, where he used to have a weekly radio show on Mondays.
Even though his first day back at work was no where near normal, there is no doubt that head coach Chuck Pagano was just happy to be back with the team. Seeing Pagano back in the building was one small step towards normalcy, after months of hard times. Seeing the coach back on the sideline this Sunday, will help to bring it all full circle.