Colts head coach Chuck Pagano's leukemia in remission, could return to sidelines

Coach could return for final game

INDIANAPOLIS - A day after he delivered a rousing locker room speech, doctors confirm Colts head coach Chuck Pagano's leukemia is in remission.

Dr. Larry Cripe with the IU Simon Cancer Center told RTV6 that Pagano, who was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 26, is in full remission.

"It's where we want to be. It's an important step. Now we concentrate on having him cured," Cripe said. "He's awesome. He's doing great. He's on his way to returning to the Colts."

During a news conference Monday, interim head coach Bruce Arians said Pagano is improving, and that the goal is to have him back on the sidelines by Dec. 30 for the Colts' regular season finale.

Watch: Chuck Pagano's locker room speech

Arians has been running the Colts (5-3) since Pagano was diagnosed. Pagano remained hospitalized until Oct. 21 as doctors treated him with chemotherapy. He has been resting at home since then.

Pagano surprised the team in the locker room after their 23-20 win over Miami on Sunday, delivering an inspirational speech.

"You know where they (the critics) had us in the beginning, every last one of them. But you refused to live in circumstances and you decided, consciously, as a team and as a family to live in a vision," Pagano told players. "That's why you bring things home like you brought home today, that's why you're already champions."

Pagano, who begins his second round of chemotherapy this week, didn't mention his leukemia by name, but told players he plans to live for a long time and witness great things.

"My vision that I'm living, I see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings and hoist that Lombardi (trophy) several times," he said, tearing up. "I'm dancing at two more weddings, and we're hoisting that trophy together."

Hoosiers reacted strongly to the video of Pagano's rousing words.

"I'm just about to be a father. We are expecting Nov. 15. Talking how he wants to be there for his daughters. Everything he wants to do that shows what kind of man he is," Ian Fleming said. "He's a very impressive man, and my heart goes out to him."

"I knew Chuck was on the right road when he said dance at his daughters' wedding and lifting the Lombardi trophy," Troy Dumes said. "I'm with him. I believe in him, and I'll be with Chuck when he lifts the Lombardi trophy."

Arians says Pagano's white blood-cell count was high enough Monday that he could return to the team complex.

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