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Jim Irsay: Chuck Pagano has leukemia, “He can beat this thing”

Chuck Pagano, Jim Irsay AP

Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed on Monday morning that head coach Chuck Pagano is hospitalized with leukemia, but Irsay said the cancer is treatable and that everyone is optimistic.

“It’s been a very difficult week,” Irsay said. “The coach was feeling some fatigue over the last two weeks, had noticed some bruising on his body that at first he thought could have been from contact on the field, coaching, or playing with his grandkids or whatever, and eventually through talking to his wife, Tina, she said, ‘You need to check that out.’”

As it turned out, Pagano was informed that he has leukemia. Irsay said he doesn’t expect Pagano to come back as the head coach this season, although he does think Pagano may be ready to coach from the press box at some point late this year. Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will take over as the interim head coach while Pagano is away, and Irsay said he’s confident in Arians and wants Pagano focused on getting better.

“Knowing Chuck, his first concern is going to be for his children, his grandchildren, his wife, for others: That’s just how he is,” Irsay said. “I feel with every fiber of my body, and Chuck feels the same way, that he can beat this thing.”

Still, Irsay said it’s tough for Pagano to think about anything other than football.

“He was disheartened that NFL Network wasn’t on in his hospital room,” Irsay said.

Irsay said that his message to Pagano was that they’re going to triumph over this: “When we grab the Lombardi Trophy some day,” Irsay said he told Pagano, “it’s going to be that much sweeter.”

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38 Responses to “Jim Irsay: Chuck Pagano has leukemia, “He can beat this thing””
  1. mazblast says: Oct 1, 2012 10:54 AM

    It looks like Pagano, Irsay, and the Colts have their priorities straight. Best wishes to Coach Pagano for a full recovery.

  2. gojags says: Oct 1, 2012 10:54 AM

    That sucks. He was bound to be a very good coach with a great QB. I pray he has a speedy recovery and god give him the will to fight this out.

  3. 49erstim says: Oct 1, 2012 10:58 AM

    Good Luck Coach Pagano. The community of football fans hope to seeyou back doing the job you love very soon.

  4. peytonsneck18 says: Oct 1, 2012 11:01 AM

    GOD bless u coach…

  5. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Oct 1, 2012 11:01 AM

    If you ever watched the defenses Coach Pagano ran in Baltimore, you know he is a legit tough-minded guy.

    Here’s one Steeler fan pulling hard for Coach Pagano to kick the crap out of this disease, and get back to coaching the likes of Mathis, Freeney, Angerer, Luck, Wayne, Fleener, etc. Coach Pagano will take that 1-15 team and turn it into a very competitive team.

  6. irishking says: Oct 1, 2012 11:05 AM

    All of us need to keep Chuck Pagano and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

  7. sudz28 says: Oct 1, 2012 11:05 AM

    That’s terrible; here to wishing a full recovery for Chuck Pagano!!!

  8. 13fitzj says: Oct 1, 2012 11:06 AM

    Stay strong coach

  9. steelersownyou says: Oct 1, 2012 11:07 AM

    Steeler fan here. Just awful news. My dad died of leukemia 2 weeks after being diagnosed with it. Steeler nation is praying for pagano and his family!

  10. skoobyfl says: Oct 1, 2012 11:11 AM

    I am so sorry to hear this Chuck, best wishes for you & yours.

  11. khennigan says: Oct 1, 2012 11:26 AM

    I’m sure all the Ravens fans will agree with me when I say that we are all praying for Chuck right now. He was a wonderful defensive coach and was loved by his players here. This is awful news and makes you realize just how precious life is.

  12. swagger52 says: Oct 1, 2012 11:27 AM

    Chuck we are praying for you! I can’t wait to see you back on the sidelines.

  13. blacknole08 says: Oct 1, 2012 11:32 AM

    Panthers fan here. Chuck, good luck and I wish you a speedy recovery.

  14. 5against1 says: Oct 1, 2012 11:35 AM

    In a very short time, Coach Pagano brought back alot of passion here in Indy that had been missing for a couple of seasons. Hasn’t taken him long to become very well liked in the community. You just have to hear him speak for about 20 seconds to know he’s a fighter. No doubt he’ll fight this with all he’s got. Thoughts and prayers to the entire Pagano family.

  15. pj1983a says: Oct 1, 2012 11:37 AM

    God’s blessings to Coach Pagano. It’s a good lesson for everyone: when in doubt, go to the doctor. Symptoms like fatigue and bruises are easy to ignore, but it’s important to get them checked out, just in case.

  16. sabatimus says: Oct 1, 2012 11:47 AM

    Oh man that’s terrible :(

  17. karlton3 says: Oct 1, 2012 11:49 AM

    That cancer is soooo getting it’s ass kicked. It has no idea who it’s up against.

  18. randyschwimmer7 says: Oct 1, 2012 11:51 AM

    Broncos fan here. I have to say that when I heard the news this morning that he was out with an illness, I feared the worst, and this is worse than I feared. My thoughts and prayers are with Coach Pagano, his family, the Colts and Colts fans. This is not something anyone should have to face. He is a good man that looked to be righting a ship in Indy. Everyone, whether you are a Colts fan or not, needs to take a min today and send positive thoughts and prayer to Coach Pagano and his family. They are about to go down a road that is not going to be easy. I really hope that he can beat this and return to the sidelines very quickly this year.

  19. godblessfootball says: Oct 1, 2012 11:55 AM

    Praying that you make a full recovery!

  20. steelernationfartsinyourfaceandwinschampionships says: Oct 1, 2012 12:02 PM

    In all honesty, this speaks of the sickly environment that the Ravens have. No doubt in my mind it contributed to this disease. Stay strong, Chuck.

  21. ihaterogergoodell says: Oct 1, 2012 12:03 PM

    This is just horrible. My prayers go out to Pagano and his family. My uncle died of leukemia, and I wish no one would ever have to go through that.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Chuck. The NFL is that much better when everyone is at 100%, even coaches!

  22. cztikhldr4evr says: Oct 1, 2012 12:08 PM

    Our hearts here in Indy goes out to coach and his family,
    Irsay said on the news this morning that the coach was a little disappointed that his hospital room didn’t have the NFL channel, Irsay told coach that he would check into it,
    My guess the whole hospital now has the NFL channel,
    A man must have priorities, coach is a mans man, let’s see, 1st, his family, 2nd the colts, 3rd the NFL channel, 4th this cancer thing, that’s a real man,
    Coach get well, and get back to the sidelines, All of Indy is pulling for you.

  23. rickcerv1286 says: Oct 1, 2012 12:40 PM

    Raider fan here . you can make it coach. as i have made it myself. i have survived my leukemia process. all you have to do is have faith. Keep your head up coach

  24. scoonie97 says: Oct 1, 2012 12:49 PM

    When reached for comments about chuck pagano’s situation, 4 out 5 colts fans said they still prefer Andrew Luck over RG3…

    Because that’s their response to everything.

  25. kane337 says: Oct 1, 2012 12:51 PM

    Get well soon coach. All of the NFL and fans are pulling for you.

  26. bsizemore68 says: Oct 1, 2012 12:56 PM

    My 14 year old cousin died from Leukemia in 1956, back then it was go home and be with your love ones, think goodness the medical communities has made great advances in finding cures for this awful disease, and hopefully the doctor was telling it like it is that he should have a full recovery and get back on the job asap. Bill

  27. claymatthewshairplugs says: Oct 1, 2012 12:57 PM

    Good luck Mr. Pagano. Cancer is a nasty thing but many people have beaten it. Best wishes.

  28. finsuppatsdown says: Oct 1, 2012 1:25 PM

    Good luck and best wishes to Mr. Pagano and his family.

  29. skolvikings2011 says: Oct 1, 2012 1:30 PM

    Wishing you well, coach. I really do hope that you beat this and are back out there with your team. All in God’s timing.

  30. lscore says: Oct 1, 2012 1:31 PM

    Who the hell is thumbing down all the well-wishes?! You tools need to grow up.

  31. 49erstim says: Oct 1, 2012 1:59 PM

    @lscore….. well said Sir.

  32. randyschwimmer7 says: Oct 1, 2012 2:04 PM

    rickcerv1286 says:
    Oct 1, 2012 12:40 PM
    Raider fan here . you can make it coach. as i have made it myself. i have survived my leukemia process. all you have to do is have faith. Keep your head up coach

    ____________________________

    As a Broncos fan, I am happy to see that you have beat it. Cancer is a scary thing and I would not wish it upon ANYONE. Let’s hope coach Pagano has the same faith and mindset as you had. Way to go. That is definitely something to be proud of. Hope you stay in remission.

  33. jackblackshairyback says: Oct 1, 2012 2:47 PM

    Do we know yet if this is acute or chronic leukemia?

    My dad died from the acute kind last year, but then again he was 80 and his body was so beat up from years of heavy smoking and drinking, any chemo would have killed him anyway.

    I have a cousin who has chronic leukemia, and he leads a perfectly normal life.

  34. dynasonic says: Oct 1, 2012 4:31 PM

    scoonie97 says:
    Oct 1, 2012 12:49 PM
    When reached for comments about chuck pagano’s situation, 4 out 5 colts fans said they still prefer Andrew Luck over RG3…

    Because that’s their response to everything.

    ************************************

    Are you effing kidding me with this BS? You can’t even let a “our coach has cancer” story go by without interjecting this RG3>Luck crap into the discussion? Thankfully not all Redskins fans are as shallow and heartless as you.

  35. 2difshoe says: Oct 1, 2012 4:37 PM

    Good thoughts and prayers for a fine gentleman and class individual for a speedy and full recovery !

    Best wishes Coach !

  36. mazblast says: Oct 1, 2012 6:02 PM

    steelernationfartsinyourfaceandwinschampionships says:

    In all honesty, this speaks of the sickly environment that the Ravens have. No doubt in my mind it contributed to this disease. Stay strong, Chuck.
    ————————————-
    “sir”, you are an embarrassment to all of us who root for the Steelers. What a disgusting thing to say about the Ravens.

  37. chadc20112 says: Oct 1, 2012 9:14 PM

    Jets fan here – wishing you a speedy recovery – you can def. beat this. I had the same leukemia (APL) in 2009. This is a very treatable/curable form of leukemia….you’ll get back up from this soon. Puts into perspective what is important

  38. packerfanfordecades says: Oct 2, 2012 4:20 PM

    I’m thinking that only rare individuals praise the Lord each and every day for the good health we enjoy. I don’t praise Jesus enough for that. Then something like this news hits and it brings us back to how fragile life and health are.

    I’ll be praying that coach Pagano is in the Super Bowl within 4 years … and if it’s Colts vs. Packers, that news would be good too, but not as good as news of Chuck’s full recovery.

    May God bless you coach. Get well soon.
    .

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