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Colts coach Pagano returns to team

The SportsXchange

Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano held an emotional press conference Monday as he returned to work after taking a three-month leave of absence to battle leukemia.

He takes over after interim coach Bruce Arians helped lead the Colts to a surprising 10-5 record and a spot in the AFC playoffs.

Pagano cried at times during his reintroduction as the Colts coach.

"Circumstances don't make you, they reveal you," Pagano said. "What was revealed to me, along with the support of my wife and family, that my owner -- his family -- there's not a better man in the entire National Football League.

"The love and support his family gave me ... He was with me every step of the way. There wasn't a day I didn't feel his presence."

Owner Jim Irsay called Pagano's return a "joyous occasion."

"It's a fairy tale," Irsay said. "It's a Hollywood script. But it's real."

Pagano thanked his wife, Tina, while fighting tears, as well as general manager Ryan Grigson, his players, the media and fans.

"I can't imagine a city, a community embracing someone they don't know like this," he said. "I just think that's how we roll in this great city, state, country."

Pagano left the team Sept. 26 for the first of three rounds of chemotherapy.

He is expected to be on the Colts' sideline Sunday against the Houston Texans, who won the AFC South division. Pagano last coached the Colts in a game on Sept. 23, a 22-17 loss against Jacksonville Jaguars.

Pagano said that Arians did a "masterful" job in stepping in as the Colts rebounded from a 2-14 record in 2011.

"This is Spielberg stuff," Grigson told the Indianapolis Star. "To call it a storybook is almost an understatement. It's been bigger than that."
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