Colts coach Chuck Pagano, recovering from a battle with leukemia, returned to the team Monday for the first time since taking an indefinite leave on Oct. 1. Pagano will prepare his 10-5 team for Sunday's regular-season finale against the conference-leading Texans.
"I feel great," he said. "My weight is back. My energy is back and again, it's just a blessing to be back here."
An emotional Pagano said Monday ranks as the second-best day of his life, behind only his wedding, and he thanked assistant Bruce Arians for leading the team to a playoff berth.
"When I asked for Bruce to take over, I asked for him to kick some you-know-what and to do great," Pagano said. "Damn, Bruce, you had to go and win nine games? Tough act to follow. Tough act to follow. Best in the history of the NFL. That's what I have to come back to."
Said team owner Jim Irsay: "I know Chuck is ready for this challenge. In speaking to his doctor multiple times, I know that the time is right for him to grab the reins, get the head coaching cap on and begin the journey. It's been a miraculous story. It really is a book. It's a fairytale. It's a Hollywood script. It's all those things but it's real."
Read more about that story and others, plus check out videos, trivia and more, at Tuesday's Morning Mashup .