INDIANAPOLIS — Back and ready to go.
That's the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis' final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team's AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
"Hair's coming back in. It's a little gnarly. I haven't found a gel yet that will quite calm it down. We're still looking for one. My wife is trying to help me out. But I feel great and I'm obviously very fortunate to be back here and be doing this combine deal," the second-year head coach voiced.
A relatively young Colts squad used Pagano's forced absence as a rallying point as the team turned a 2-14 record in 2011 into an 11-5 mark last season. Now, with their coach appearing to be back on the road to a full recovery, what can Indianapolis do for an encore?
"You know what? We set our expectations high a year ago when we got here. We knew where everybody basically had us [previewing the upcoming season] based on all the turnover. Front office, coaching staff, players, etc.," Pagano recalled.
"We know what the expectations are now. The players have set high expectations for themselves. The bar is really high. And so we're just going to keep working the process, continue to build the monster, and move forward. I fully expect to back up last year with another great season."