Former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with leukemia.
The Colts head coach has been in an intensive care unit of an Indianapolis hospital since last Wednesday, but it is a “very treatable” form of the cancer, says ESPN. More specifically, it’s acute promyelocytic leukemia.
"Will be back REAL soon," Pagano wrote to NFL.com’s Albert Breer via email.
According to the American Cancer Society website, "early diagnosis and treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) ... is important because patients with APL may develop serious blood-clotting or bleeding problems. ... Treatment induces remission in 80 to 90 percent of patients."
"I am optimistic,” Colts Owner Jim Irsay said in a press conference Monday morning. “I feel with every fiber in my body, and I know Chuck feels the same way, that he can beat this thing.”
Pagano, who has been reportedly experiencing extreme fatigue and bruising, will miss at least six weeks of football, but sources say he plans to return to coaching.
Irsay cast doubt on that being this season, however.
“I think that it's very unlikely that he will be all-in as a head coach this season,” Irsay said of Pagano.
Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians will serve as the interim coach, according to Irsay. The Colts, who are coming off a Week 4 bye, are 1-2 with Green Bay slated this Sunday.
The high-energy and always comical Pagano spent the past four years with the Ravens and was very well-liked by players, coaches and staff.
He was the team’s secondary coach for three years and then defensive coordinator last season. His Baltimore defensive unit ranked third in the NFL last year, leading to him being offered his first head coaching job in Indianapolis.