Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 10/3/12
GREEN BAY, Wis. This is not a normal week of practice for the Indianapolis Colts, and interim head coach Bruce Arians isn't trying to pretend that it is. As the Colts prepare to host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, they are doing so without first-year head coach Chuck Pagano. Earlier this week, Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, and he may be hospitalized for up to two months as he undergoes treatment. "I don't consider myself the head coach," Arians said in a Wednesday conference call. "I've just expanded my coordinator role and leadership role within the organization until Chuck comes back." Colts owner Jim Irsay has stated that he does not expect Pagano, 52, to return this season in a full-time coaching capacity. As the team adjusts to its head coach being away under such difficult circumstances, Arians hopes that the players and coaches can at least achieve a relatively smooth transition. "It's going to take time," Arians said. "What we do is find that safe haven that's called football and come to the office, get into the routine that Chuck has put in place and stay on our schedule and stay focused. When we're on the field, we can leave all that behind. "But after practice, then it's not going to go away. Just like anything else with your family, if your mother was sick or your kids were sick, you have to leave it behind when you're out on the field and in the meetings and then deal with it at the proper time." Indianapolis had a Week 4 bye, which allowed the coaching staff to enjoy a bit more time off than during a regular game week. Prior to that, though, Pagano -- despite his undiagnosed (at the time) medical condition -- seemed like the same person to Arians. "We actually joked about it," Arians said. "We said, 'Man, we can't wait for this open date,' and thank God it came early this year. We had been going at it nonstop since he took the job. With his energy and enthusiasm, I didn't see a drop-off. I didn't see anything that would have led me to believe that this was happening. That's why it was such a shock to everybody." Arians, who at age 60 has never been a head coach in the NFL, joined Pagano's staff in Indianapolis this offseason. Most recently, Arians was the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2007-11. Just because Pagano is in treatment doesn't mean he's not involved with the Colts. He and Arians are frequently sending each other text messages and plan to talk Wednesday afternoon right after practice. "Mostly (we talk about) football because that's what we like to talk about," Arians said. "The other things, they're very evident in voice and what happens to you when you go through chemo." When Arians first addressed the team this week after the news of Pagano's health became public, his message was quite simple. "It was 'One play at a time, one day at a time; We're going to get through it,'" Arians said. "Chuck has laid the foundation what it takes to win here, and they all know what that foundation is: family, faith, football, loyalty to each other, hard work, effort. We just continue to build on what we started until he comes back. "I'm not overly involved in trying to do something out of the ordinary. Just do what we do and then we'll be fine." For rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, who will be trying to improve the Colts to a 2-2 record this Sunday in his fourth NFL start, this certainly wasn't the way he expected to return to practice following the bye week. "I think guys are still sort of in shock over it -- I know I am," Luck said in a conference call. "I don't think I fully realized the true breadth of the situation. I think not having him out at practice on Monday was really the thing that hit guys. Obviously, we all feel for him and are all behind him 100 percent in his battle with leukemia and we'll be behind him the whole way. "I firmly believe he'll make it through. I think guys also try to make sure they stay focused on the task at hand. I know that's what he'd want. Our thoughts are definitely with him." Though Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he does not know Pagano on a personal level, it was an unexpected way for the week to begin, even in Green Bay. "My heart goes out to Chuck Pagano and his family," McCarthy said. "Our support for him will definitely be there, and we're just wishing him well." Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Danny Ainge’s son running for congressional seat in Utah

John Wall’s retweet saves fan from taking final exam

WATCH: Cubs pull off two miraculous defensive plays in a row

To raise money for charity, a wrestling fan has Cody Rhodes slam him on thumbtacks

Gregg Popovich on Steve Kerr’s health issues: ‘It’s just a crap situation’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

CJ McCollum clearly interested in having Paul Millsap join Blazers

Injuries are depriving us from watching the Spurs thrive in the clutch

Nashville Predators fans just made the worst hype video of 2017

Draymond Green files trademark paperwork for ‘Dray Day’

Aaron Judge gets special fan section at Yankee Stadium

New lawsuit alleges NFL knew about CTE for decades

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker