From Sickness to Celebration: Pagano Returns to the Colts
In something akin to what Disney would dream up, Sunday certainly was a joyous moment for one NFL coach. For Chuck Pagano it wasn’t just that he saw his Colts win, it was that they won in his first game back from his battle with cancer.
On Sept. 26 Pagano took an indefinite leave from his position as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts to undergo chemotherapy for leukemia. At the time he did not know when he would return, or if he would ever return.
However, he beat the odds and came back to his team yesterday and was greeted with a 28-16 victory over the Houston Texans. Usually known for being reserved and calculating as most NFL coaches are, Pagano thrust that image off into the sidelines as he joined his team in celebration of his first 2012 victory.
“There was a lot of high-fiving, a lot of dancing, a lot of hugging going on and a lot of celebrating,” said Pagano after the game. ”There’s a lot to celebrate right now.’”
He even went across the field to greet the opposing team to celebrate his return. If there were ever a moment that encapsulated pure joy, this may be close. Pagano was clearly overwhelmed by emotion after the game.
”What a day, what a day,” he said. What a day indeed, Coach Pagano. It would be hard to find another sports moment quite like this.
Pagano’s return comes not a moment too soon, as the Colts are approaching the playoffs. In beating first place Houston Sunday, the Colts showed they have what it takes to compete, and hopefully make it to the Super Bowl to win the championship. It certainly would be a great way to top off the season for Pagano and his team. Once facing the possible end of his career, now en route to the playoffs. Perhaps his presence back in the saddle can prove momentous to the Colts players, and spur them on through the playoffs.