The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Colts

February 22, 2013

Healthy Pagano steering Colts' ship

INDIANAPOLIS — Chuck Pagano opened his media session Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine by joking about the unruliness of his hair. He said his wife, Tina, is trying to find a gel that can calm it down, but nothing seems to do the trick.

Of course, it’s a welcome problem to have.

Last fall, Pagano lost all of his hair — even his trademark salt-and-pepper goatee — while receiving chemotherapy in his fight against leukemia.

That he can stand tall some four months after his diagnosis and address the national media with a healthy visage and his natural humor is the biggest victory of this annual event.

“It’s great to be here, it’s great to be healthy and I’m blessed,” Pagano said in a lobby at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I’m really blessed.”

The courage Pagano showed throughout his battle inspired a city-wide “ChuckStrong” campaign that saw more than 30 members of the Indianapolis Colts — and two brave cheerleaders — as well as countless fans and others throughout the state shave their heads in solidarity.

It also inspired the team to rebound from a 2-14 season to 11-5 and earn an unlikely wild-card berth in the AFC Playoffs. The Colts were 9-3 in the 12 games Pagano missed while receiving treatment, and one of the first questions he was asked Friday concerned the team’s chances of replicating their success without their famous rallying cry.

“We set our expectations high a year ago when we got here,” he said. “We knew where everybody basically had us, based on all the turnover in the front office, coaching staff, players, etc. We know what the expectations are now. Players have set high expectations for themselves. The bar is really high. We’re just going to keep working the process, continuing to build the monster and move forward. We fully expect to back up next year with another great season.”

The Colts will have more than $43 million in salary-cap space when free agency begins March 12, and they are expected to renovate the offensive line and perhaps the defensive backfield. They’ll also need to find a replacement for outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, who will not be re-signed after 11 seasons.

“I can’t thank Dwight enough,” Pagano said. “He’s been a pillar, a guy here for a long, long time. Obviously, we know what he did on the football field was tremendous. What he’s done for the city, what he’s done for the fans, what he’s done for this community, the organization, you just can’t repay him enough.”

Jerry Hughes and Justin Hickman will get the first crack at replacing Freeney on the field, and general manager Ryan Grigson said he’ll endeavor to create competition at the position before training camp.

The Colts also could be in the market for a safety, a cornerback and reinforcements for at least one guard and one offensive tackle position.

Pagano said the team already has reached out to its own free agent punter, Pat McAfee, and will try to re-sign cornerback Jerraud Powers and defensive end Fili Moala as well.

As for a philosophy in the draft, Pagano echoed Grigson’s statements from Thursday. The team is keeping its options wide open.

“We’re going to look at everything,” he said. “There are a ton of players here to look at. We’ve analyzed ourselves pretty good, delved in as far as self-scouting. There are some areas there we all know that need to be addressed. We’re not going to just earmark one or two areas. We’re going to take a look at everybody here and hopefully plug in a few pieces to help us.”

One major change already has taken place. Offensive coordinator — and interim head coach — Bruce Arians left to become head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton — who coached Andrew Luck during his last two years at Stanford — was brought in as Arians’ replacement.

Hamilton promises to introduce West Coast offensive principles into the Colts’ wide-open aerial attack. That could mean shorter throws for Luck and more yards after catch for receivers. But Pagano wasn’t ready to peel the lid off many offensive secrets at the combine.

“It’s probably a little bit premature to say what we’re going to look like next fall,” Pagano said. “I really don’t want to give that out. (Hamilton’s) a bright guy. He’s got some great ideas. Football is pure to him. He loves to run the ball, loves to take his shots down the field. We’re not going to waste any plays. It’s great to have Pep. Once we continue to move forward and get through this combine, we’ll have a better idea of where we need to go as far as adding players.”

One thing that won’t change in 2013? Pagano’s commitment to returning Indianapolis to the top of the NFL world.

“Our goal is never going to change,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl. So when (the players) show up April 15, we’re going to slap that trophy back up on the big screen and say here’s what we’re working for. This is why we do what we do. It’s why we coach, it’s why we play, it’s why we train, it’s why we make all the sacrifices that we make is to win the ultimate goal and feel the confetti.”

1
Text Only
Colts
  • SPT - HB0819 - McAfee art George Bremer: McAfee can't wait for another shot at miracle finish Two days later, Pat McAfee still was kicking himself for missing a 64-yard field goal that would have provided an even more improbable finish to Saturday's 27-26 preseason loss against the New York Giants.

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0818 - Griff Whalen art Rogers, Whalen heating up WR conversation Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen are competing so hard for the fifth WR spot, the Colts might be convinced to keep six.

    August 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • WEB Colts art 8-17 Giants rally past Colts in preseason home opener Pat McAfee truly believes he should have made a game-winning field goal for the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night. Never mind that the punter's attempt came from 64 yards out — a distance that would have equaled the NFL record set by Matt Prater last year. McAfee was focused only on the 27-26 loss against the New York Giants and how his right foot could have changed it.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0816 - Colts art Colts still in evaluation mode against Giants

    Many eyes will be turned toward Jonotthan Harrison tonight when the Indianapolis Colts host the New York Giants in their second preseason game. The undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida figures to be the starting center following Khaled Holmes' sprained ankle in the opener against the New York Jets.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Colts QBs ready for NBA, MLB?

    Colts quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck and Chandler Harnish went through some unique warmups before practice at Colts training camp at Anderson University.

    August 14, 2014

  • NWS - HB0814 - Colts Camp - 212 Fans seek signatures on last day of Colts camp

    The Indianapolis Colts finished their time in Anderson with a quick practice under beautiful conditions. The nice weather brought out about 1,000 people to see the Colts off and grab an autograph or two if possible.

    August 13, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0814 - Colts Camp - 130 Colts end eventful camp on light note

    Chuck Pagano threw his team a little curveball Wednesday to close out the 2014 training camp, providing a light-hearted finish to a three-week stretch at Anderson University that often tested the team's mettle.

    August 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Contract's up, but AU confident Colts will return AU president James Edwards believes the school soon will begin working on a new deal with the Colts.

    August 13, 2014

  • SPT - HB0813 - Colts Camp - Luck Watch - 058.JPG Colts Camp 2014: Day 19

    VIDEO: The Colts wrapped up training camp Wednesday morning with a shortened practice at Anderson University. The team will return to Indianapolis to continue preparations for Saturday's preseason game against the New York Giants.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0813 - Colts Camp - Luck Watch - 058.JPG Colts Quick Hits: Aug. 13

    News and notes from Colts training camp at Anderson University

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

Colts Video
Twitter Updates
Reader Photos From Camp


Share your camp photos with us.

Colts Camp Webcast Archive