As much as Bruce Arians is enjoying leading the Indianapolis Colts as the team’s interim coach, he has made it clear where his loyalties lie.
Arians, who has led the Colts to a 7-4 record heading into Sunday’s game at Detroit, continues to give all credit for the team’s unexpected run of success this season to his boss, coach Chuck Pagano.
Indianapolis was expected to flounder in the wake of so many on-and-off field changes. Yet the Colts find themselves in strong contention for an AFC wild-card berth.
Pagano has been away from the team, in terms of being an every-day presence, since Oct. 1 when he was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. He has been undergoing a series of chemotherapy treatments since then.
The goal, according to Arians, is to have Pagano back on the sidelines for the Colts’ Dec. 30 regular-season home finale with AFC South rival Houston.
If that goal is met, Pagano will be back fully in charge of the team in time for a potential post season run.
“If he comes back, he’ll be the head coach and taking back over,” Arians said.
Pagano has been in attendance for two home games — Miami and Buffalo — since taking his leave of absence, sitting with team owner Jim Irsay in his Lucas Oil Stadium suite. The Colts have won both of those matchups.
He has also remained involved by working from his home by breaking down practice and game tapes. Pagano also keeps in touch with the Colts’ coaching staff and players.
“[The players] love Chuck and what he means and what he stands for. He’s in communication with the guys all the time texting,” Arians said.
“I kind of preach it every week so we’re never going to forget that. That’s the one thing we want to do and I think that’s what’s bonded our football team.”
The Colts players have watched Pagano’s battle with leukemia on a daily basis. And they’ve learned from it, taking their on-field quest of making the playoffs on a day-by-day schedule.
“Each game has become more important. Our goal is in sight. As long as we stay within the moment, we’ll be playing when he comes back and that has always been our goal since he got sick, to extend the season,” Arians voiced.
“He has stayed in constant contact with a lot of the players and coaches. His foot prints and hand prints are all over this team. It’s his team. We all feel very good that we’re in a position now to achieve that goal if we just stay in the moment of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and not start looking ahead.”
Having Pagano around, even on a limited basis, continues to be the Colts’ driving force. And being able to contribute, even on a limited basis, helps the coach as well.
“It’s unbelievable medicine. Being around football I think is one of the things that’s getting him well. The more he can be in the building and be around the guys, when it’s not detrimental to his health, it’s unbelievable medicine for him,” Arians explained. “Being able to break down film and doing all the things that he’s doing at the house, and then texting guys saying, ‘Hey you played this play pretty good but you didn’t play that play pretty good.’
“The little thing with [wide receiver] T.Y. [Hilton], [texting him last week to stretch and cut on his punt returns, which helped propel him on the 75-yard runback for a touchdown against Buffalo]. Those things are a fabulous medicine to help a person get well. You have to have a reason to want to get well. And when you have one as strong as this, it’s great medicine.”
n Facing the Lions — The Colts will have a stiff test this weekend at Ford Field against a Detroit team that is a lot better than its 4-7 record would indicate.
“When you’ve got two guys with the quality of [quarterback] Matthew [Stafford] and [wide receiver] Calvin [Johnson], they are as good as it gets in this league. As far as a one-two punch, the guy throwing to a guy catching, Matthew can make every throw in the book and this guy [Johnson] can obviously take a short one and go over [you],” Arians previewed.
“Or you could have him covered and he’s still going to jump out and catch it. So don’t get your heart broken if two guys are on him and he still catches the ball. Just play the next down.”
Arians scouted the big (6-5, 236) and athletic Johnson prior to the 2006 National Football League draft, attending his on-campus workout at Georgia Tech as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“When we went to his workout when he was coming out, you had seen a little bit of each in a different guy. Plaxico [Burress] was big. Some guys are fast, Steve Smith’s got great hands. This guy has got it all and he’s got an unbelievable work ethic,” he recalled.
“I think the most impressive thing for me was watching him block at Georgia Tech. They didn’t throw that much and he was a devastating blocker for them. Just watching him grow as a wide receiver now speaks volumes for his work ethic.”
n Explanation on Chapman — The Colts’ decision to place rookie nose tackle Josh Chapman on injured reserve came as somewhat of a surprise.
Chapman had undergone reconstructive knee surgery in January after he was injured playing for Alabama last season. He had missed the spring workouts, training camp and the early portion of the regular season but had been cleared to begin practicing last month. Chapman had been added to the active roster but had played in a game yet this season.
“He made the ultimate sacrifice last year giving that [knee] up for a [FBS] championship and we’re not going to press him. We’ve got a lot invested in him and we think he’s going to be a great football player,” Arians said.
”There’s just been a little bit too much, a little bit of pain when he’s tried to practice. So we just want to get him well and then go into the off-season so we can have him fully healthy for next year.”
n Roster moves — Indianapolis signed safety Delano Howell Wednesday from the Buffalo Bills practice squad to the Colts active roster.
The Colts also announced that offensive guard Seth Olsen will return to practice from the physically unable to perform list. Olsen will remain on injured reserve during this time.
Indianapolis will have up to three weeks from today to elevate Olsen to the 53-man active roster or he will remain on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season.
Indianapolis also signed former Rams defensive tackle Kellen Heard. Defensive tackle Fili Moala (knee) and Chapman were both added to the injured reserve list.
n Injury list — Sitting out Wednesday’s practice were outside linebacker Dwight Freeney (rest), offensive tackle Tony Hills (chest), nose tackle Martin Tevaseu (head/shoulder) and safety Tom Zbikowski (shin contusion/knee).
Running back Donald Brown (knee), cornerback Vontae Davis (knee), tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder), safety Joe Lefeged (toe) and quarterback Andrew Luck (knee) all fully participated in the workout.
As much as Bruce Arians is enjoying leading the Indianapolis Colts as the team’s interim coach, he has made it clear where his loyalties lie.
Colts need Woerner to step up in Mathis' absence
Big Bjoern has certainly made his presence felt during the first week of training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. Bjoern Werner — the 6-foot-3, 257-pound second-year outside linebacker for the Colts— is being counted on to big a major force on the Indianapolis defense this season.
Colts' Thomas leaves practice with lower-leg injury
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has been trying to take a lighter approach to training camp practices this year in an effort to slow down the list of injuries that dogged his team a year ago.
Pagano’s plans, though, haven’t been bearing fruit.
Colts, Fleener focused on situational football
One year ago, the focus in Indianapolis Colts training camp was on turnovers. The team had committed far too many in 2012 and was determined not to repeat its mistakes.
The theme at Anderson University carried over to the field and the Colts’ 14 turnovers were the fewest in the NFL last year.
Colts waive running back Rainey
What a difference a couple of days make. After Saturday's morning training camp practice, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was effusive in his praise of running back Chris Rainey. But on Monday, the Colts surprisingly announced that Rainey had been waived after violating an unspecified team policy.
Colts camp: Defense shines in workout
There was a change in the Indianapolis Colts training camp schedule Monday as the team had just one practice instead of the usual two.
Colts seek more adaptable offensive line
That’s what the Indianapolis Colts are looking for on their retooled offensive line.
Hot, humid, rainy: Colts work through first day in full pads
Rain, rain go away. That’s pretty much what happened Sunday afternoon on the fourth day of Indianapolis Colts training camp.
Pagano, Colts 'feel awful' for Ballard
The news coming from Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano after Saturday morning’s practice may have been expected, but the fact that running back Vick Ballard suffered yet another season-ending injury was still disappointing.
COLTS NOTEBOOK: Luck draws comparisons to Rodgers, Roethlisberger
Quarterback Andrew Luck continues to be the main attraction as the Indianapolis Colts training camp wrapped up its third day of workouts at Anderson University.
Colts' Hamilton excited to get to work with talent on team's offense
As he heads into his second season as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton has a pretty good feel for what he wants to get accomplished this year.
Wayne gets special escort to Colts’ training camp
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has seemingly raised the bar the last several years when it comes to making flashy arrivals for Indianapolis Colts training camp. So when the unmistakable roar of an IndyCar engine was heard on the Anderson University campus Wednesday morning, nobody was surprised. Wayne, decked out in an official racing uniform and custom-made helmet, had reported for duty.
Colts begin training camp with loftier goals in 2014
With training camp starting today at Anderson University, third-year head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson both believe that the Indianapolis Colts are ready to take another big step in 2014.
Retiring as Colt, Clark appreciates Terre Haute fans
Dallas Clark was always a fan favorite when the Indianapolis Colts conducted their annual summer training-camp workouts at Rose-Hulman. During an emotional 45-minute retirement ceremony Wednesday morning at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Clark — who spent 11 seasons as a tight end in the NFL (nine with the Colts) and signed a one-day career-ending contract with the Colts this week — admitted the obvious. The team’s fans in Terre Haute meant a lot to him too.
Colts know what they want to accomplish at mini-camp
With three weeks of organized team activity practices now behind them, the Indianapolis Colts headed into their three-day mandatory mini-camp Tuesday with a specific goal in mind when training camp starts July 23 at Anderson University.
The mini-camp will continue today and wrap up early Thursday afternoon.
Team’s all-time top tight end Clark to retire as Colt
Jeff Saturday did it last year, returning to the Indianapolis Colts after a brief stint as a center with the Green Bay Packers and officially ending his National Football League career with the team where he had his most success. Now it looks like Dallas Clark will be following in Saturday’s footsteps.
Colts agree to terms with veteran safety
Mike Adams will get a chance to erase bad memories from Super Bowl XLVIII as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
The franchise announced Saturday morning it had agreed to terms with the veteran safety.
Adams started the NFL's most recent championship game at free safety for the Denver Broncos and recorded six tackles in a 43-8 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts
The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.
Newcomers to Colts trying to find their way
That’s what many of the Indianapolis Colts have been trying to do during the first week of organized team activity practices. OTA sessions began Tuesday and will wrap up in two weeks.
Pagano, Colts look at Mathis' suspension as opportunity for young players
The Indianapolis Colts lost first-year head coach Chuck Pagano for most of 2012 season as he battled leukemia. Gloom and doom was predicted. The result? An 11-5 record and a trip to the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs.
NFL suspends Colts’ Robert Mathis
While the Indianapolis Colts three-day rookie mini-camp got under way Friday morning, the biggest news didn’t come until later in the day.
Grigson excited about potential of Colts' 2014 draft picks
With the 2014 NFL draft wrapping up Saturday evening, the Indianapolis Colts came away with a diverse group of players to add to the roster.
Colts take versatile offensive lineman with first pick
It may have taken awhile, but the Indianapolis Colts came away from their first pick in the 2014 National Football League Draft with a versatile offensive lineman who can play guard, tackle and center.
Colts keep options open as NFL Draft begins today
While the 2014 NFL Draft gets underway today (8 p.m.) at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the Indianapolis Colts will be sitting the first round out.
Thanks to last September’s trade with the Cleveland Browns that brought running back Trent Richardson – a 2012 first-round selection by the Browns – to Indianapolis, the Colts will be on the outside looking in this evening.
Colts’ Luck getting timing down with newcomer Nicks
The Indianapolis Colts have officially put the 2013 season in the rear-view mirror with the start of the team’s off-season conditioning workouts, which got under way at the team’s West 56th Street Indiana Farm Bureau Center on Monday morning.
Colts open against Manning, Broncos
Indianapolis will open this season at AFC champion Denver in a Sunday night showdown pitting quarterback Peyton Manning against his former team.
Colts take another look at Shakir Bell
Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.
Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested
CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.
Family source: Irsay has gone to treatment facility
The family of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday that he has placed himself in a treatment facility after police found multiple prescription drugs in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
The 54-year-old Irsay, who acknowledged a painkiller dependency more than a decade ago, faces preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel late Sunday and released the next day.
Colts owner has double image in media
Colts owner Jim Irsay is known in NFL circles as a tough businessman and eccentric billionaire who enjoys interacting with fans about his beloved team and favorite songs from bands like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. He may end up adding convicted felon to the mix.
Update: Colts owner Irsay arrested for DWI
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts owner Jim Irsay was jailed today on suspicion of intoxicated driving after police said he failed sobriety tests during a traffic stop and they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts need Woerner to step up in Mathis' absence