Interim Indianapolis Colts head coach Bruce Arians can relate to his friend Chuck Pagano.
Five years ago, it was Arians who received some bad news from his doctor. He had prostate cancer. He successfully battled it of course, but it really hit home when he received the news from Pagano during the team's bye week.
"He had missed Thursday in the office, so I said, 'Where'd you guys go? Did you have a good time?'" Arians told Sam Farmer of Los Angeles Times. "And he said, 'Well, I went to the doctor.' I said, 'Yeah, how'd that go?' He said, 'I'm still in the hospital. I've got leukemia.' I was like, 'What do you mean, you've got leukemia?'
"Floored me, just floored me." Then Pagano gave his the other news - you're taking over.
For Arians, this season is filled with much purpose, and he's done a commendable job. The Colts sit at 9-4, 2nd in the AFC South, with a shot at the playoffs. The team faced a lot of uncertainty last year at 2-14, and with the departure of franchise QB Peyton Manning and rookie QB Andrew Luck coming in, no one expected this kind of success so soon.
"People thought we were going to win one or two games," Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "To play the type of football that we've played has been incredible. Bruce, Chuck and I have had long talks, and I've said, 'Bruce, you're the head coach right now. You've got to take this thing by the reins and go with it.' Chuck and I have talked about how everything's waiting for him as soon as his health returns."