INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Indianapolis Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said Monday he expects Coach Chuck Pagano to return to work after receiving treatment for leukemia.
"That same fighting spirit that Chuck has and he's instilled in this team, in this organization, is the same spirit that he's going to carry through this fight, and put him back on that field that he loves and what he was born to do -- that's to coach football and to bring passion and love of the game to those players, and leadership and ultimately wins," Grigson said in a release on the team's website.
The 52-year-old first-year head coach will be hospitalized for about six weeks of treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia, The Indianapolis Star reported. Pagano had been feeling fatigued in recent weeks and underwent blood tests during the team's bye week, the newspaper said.
"In just talking with his wife, Tina, last night, we feel confident in that foundation that Chuck has laid with these players, and they know how much that he cares about them. That's real. You can't fake that stuff," Grigson said.
Players and the coaching staff were told of the diagnosis Monday morning. Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians will serve as interim head coach while Pagano is out.
"[Arians] has a great synergy with the staff and with Chuck," Grigson said. "He's going to be able to bridge that gap between Chuck and himself and this team because they have a brotherhood on that staff like I've never seen. Chuck's our brother, and we are all here for him. Bruce is the man to lead us forward while our leader is down. Until [Pagano] comes back, Bruce Arians will carry that torch and lead that charge."
The American Cancer Society website said 80 to 90 percent of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia go into remission with early treatment -- important "because patients with APL may develop serious blood-clotting or bleeding problems."