(INDIANAPOLIS) — In an event three months in the waiting, the Indianapolis Colts welcomed back head coach Chuck Pagano after his battle with leukemia.
On October 1, Pagano took a leave of absence for cancer treatment. The team and city rallied behind their first-year head coach as he takes over the team at an interesting time.
“I know Chuck is ready for this challenge,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said on Monday. “I know the time is right for him to grab the reins and get the head coaching cap on and complete the journey.”
The team was 1-2 before Pagano left the team. He left the team in the hands of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. All Arians did was lead the team to a 9-3 record over that time. After going 2-14 last season, the Colts are 10-5 and have clinched a spot in the playoffs.
“You carried the torch and all you went out and did was win ball games, you got our 10th win yesterday and you got us into the playoffs and you did it with dignity and you did it with class. I can’t thank you enough,” Pagano said when referring to the job Arians did with the team.”
Now Pagano will have a chance to coach the biggest game of his NFL career in two weeks.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN