INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts got an inspirational visit from ailing coach Chuck Pagano on Friday, two days before a game at New England.
Pagano broke his team down during practice, interim coach Bruce Arians said. It was a beautiful moment. ... He came and enjoyed a good bunch of sunshine and talked to the guys, and it was another beautiful day.
Dozens of Indianapolis players have shaved their heads in a show of support for Pagano, who is undergoing treatment for a form of leukemia. Orange, a color used to raise awareness of the disease, is everywhere at the Colts complex and Chuckstrong has become a common catchphrase.
This month, Paganos physician said the coach was in complete remission but still faced two more rounds of chemotherapy. The Colts hope to have Pagano back on the sideline Dec. 30, Indianapolis regular-season finale against Houston.
Thats the date, Arians said Friday. The way hes going right now, its going good.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne said the visit from Pagano was welcome.
It caught everybody by surprise, he said. That was a great finishing to a great day of practice. Like I said, whenever he is able to address the team, give us a little words of wisdom, its always a great feeling.
The Colts (6-3) have been one of the big surprises this season, with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck making the transition with relative ease so far. The team has rallied around Pagano, and Arians was asked whether the Colts can get through the season running on emotion.
No, I dont think emotion but I think they can with purpose, purpose being that theyre not going to let each other down for one common goal, he said. Ive seen it so many times where a group of guys band together, and different slogans, Wont be denied, this or that or whatever, they all come up with something, this is just 1-2-3-Chuck.
Arians noted that Pagano passed out links of a chain to every player in the first week of the season and the message has taken hold: Dont be the weak link. Its kind of a common thread throughout everything.
Also Friday, the Colts elevated cornerback Teddy Williams from the practice squad to the active roster, waiving cornerback Marshay Green in favor of a guy who didnt play college football.