- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Chuck Pagano
By The Sports Xchange November 7, 2012 11:30 PM
Approximately 25 players shaved their heads after Tuesday's practice in support of coach Chuck Pagano's battle with leukemia. Pagano began his second round of chemotherapy this week. He was diagnosed Sept. 26 and has taken a temporary leave of absence from the team. Doctors confirmed Monday that he is now in remission. The first-year Colts coach made a surprise appearance in the team's locker room at Lucas Oil Stadium before and after Sunday's 23-20 win over Miami. Pagano wore a team ball cap into the locker room after the game but took it off before addressing the team, displaying how much hair he had lost due to the chemotherapy treatments. Among the players shearing their locks were quarterback Andrew Luck, wide receiver Reggie Wayne, defensive end Cory Redding, punter Pat McAfee, placekicker Adam Vinatieri, long snapper Matt Overton, inside linebacker Kavell Conner, cornerback Darius Butler, running back Donald Brown, free safety Antoine Bethea, wide receiver Nathan Palmer, offensive tackle Anthony Castanzo and offensive guard Joe Reitz. Interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians also participated as did three members of the team's equipment room staff. "It's all for Chuck," McAfee said. "We all don't look good. I'm not built to have a bald head. I've got a huge sniffer. But we all love our coach so much that we want to show unity and let people know we're all in this together. It's a really cool thing." David Thornton, the director of player engagement, got things rolling after Tuesday's practice. He had a barber waiting in a hallway as players walked off the practice field. McAfee and Redding were among the first to lose their hair. "Then it kind of caught on like wildfire," McAfee added. "By the time Thursday comes around, I think you're going to see a very large number of bald-headed people playing for the Indianapolis Colts, all in support of our coach. "We haven't been around each other very long. Our team was forced after all the changes to really build camaraderie and Chuck was that steadying piece. He motivated everybody. He was the guy that was pushing everything. We have grown to have a very close relationship with him in a short period of time. We're a family and the coach is almost like a father figure. When something happens, you want to rally behind him."