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 led 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.
Owner Jim Irsay called Pagano's return "a fairy tale," Irsay said. "It's a Hollywood script. But it's real." 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.
---New York Jets coach Rex Ryan responded to a report that backup quarterback Tim Tebow asked not to be used in any Wildcat packages in Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers.
Tebow was active, but did not play in the 27-17 loss to the Chargers. "I'm not going to get into private conversations that I have with players," Ryan said. "But it was my decision to use Jeremy Kerley in the Wildcat, no question."
Greg McElroy started in place of the benched Mark Sanchez. When Tebow learned that McElroy would start instead of him, he told Jets coaches he did not want to be used in situational plays, according to ESPN.
Ryan noted that Tebow still has two cracked ribs, but refused to comment on an ESPN report that Tebow will likely be released or traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars after the season.
---Houston Texans running back Arian Foster sent out a tweet that he is OK day after leaving Sunday's 23-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings with an irregular heartbeat.
"I appreciate all the concern and support," Foster wrote. "I am doing well. Saw a cardiologist today and everything is back to normal. ... (It was a) "minor situation." Foster has run for 1,328 yards with 14 touchdowns this year.
---Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid announced Monday that quarterback Nick Foles has a broken hand and Michael Vick will start the season finale Sunday against the New York Giants.
Foles sustained the injury late in the first half of the Eagles 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins, according to NFL.com. However, he stayed in the game and finished 32 of 48 for 345 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
An MRI taken after the game revealed a hairline fracture. Vick has been out for five games with a concussion but was cleared to play last week. The Eagles (4-11) were evaluating the young Foles in recent weeks and may part ways with Reid and Vick at the end of the season.
---Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced Monday that tight end Heath Miller will have surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee. Miller sustained the knee injury during Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals that knocked them out of playoff contention.
It is not known if he will be ready by next year's training camp. He has two years and more than $11 million left on his contract. Also, running back Baron Batch is out after having surgery for a broken arm.
---The Oakland Raiders announced that quarterback Carson Palmer will miss Sunday's season finale against the San Diego Chargers because of cracked ribs and a bruised lung. Palmer left the first quarter of Sunday's 17-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers after taking a hit to the back by defensive end Greg Hardy.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen did not announce who will start in place of Palmer. Matt Leinart replaced Palmer against the Panthers. Terrelle Pryor is also an option. NFL.com speculated that Palmer may have played his final game as a Raider. He is due $13 million next year and will be 33 years old.
---Minnesota Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield has a hand fracture but is expected to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, coach Leslie Frazier said. An MRI taken Monday revealed the fracture, but Winfield should play with the hand in a soft cast. Also, running back Adrian Peterson still has abdominal soreness and will probably practice on a limited basis this week.
---Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Monday that injured running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden have not been ruled out from playing Sunday's season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Richardson sprained his left ankle and Weeden hurt his right shoulder during Sunday's 34-12 loss to the Denver Broncos. The Browns also signed quarterback Thaddeus Lewis to the active roster from the club's practice squad, and also placed wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi on injured reserve. ...
--ETC:-The Buffalo Bills placed tight end Scott Chandler on injured reserve after leaving Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins with a left knee injury. ... The Dallas Cowboys' Jason Whitten set the NFL single-season tight end record with his 103rd reception during Sunday's 34-31 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The previous record was held by Tony Gonzalez with 102 in 2004. ... The Atlanta Falcons activated center Joe Hawley from the reserve/commissioner exemption list and placed wide receiver Kevin Cone on injured reserve. ... The Chicago Bears signed long-snapper Patrick Mannelly to a one-year contract extension. Mannelly, 37, has been the primary deep snapper for the Bears since 1998, a span of 230 games. ... The San Francisco 49ers released LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis from the practice squad. He had signed with the 49ers on Dec. 4.