INDIANAPOLIS — It took Chuck Pagano less than nine months to instill his fighter’s mentality and hopeful spirit in the Indianapolis Colts.
He will need both to survive the biggest battle of his life – leukemia.
In a somber news conference Monday, the Colts announced that their new coach had been hospitalized for cancer treatment and probably would not return to full coaching duties this season. He will be replaced on an interim basis by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
“He will do fine,” Arians said, his voice cracking as he recalled his own fight with prostate cancer in 2007. “I know him. He’s a fighter. He’s survived tough times already in his life. As a cancer survivor myself, I know that these first few days are really hard on you but as he and I talked yesterday, it’s just a matter of time.”
After practice, players signed a get-well card that read in part, “We are in your corner 100 percent. Get rest, but we can’t wait to get our leader back.”
TITANS: Jake Locker has no structural damage to his left, non-throwing shoulder and coach Mike Munchak says the Titans quarterback will be day-to-day this week.
Locker dislocated his shoulder early in a 38-14 loss to Houston.
CHIEFS: Romeo Crennel is sticking with Matt Cassel for now.
The Chiefs coach reiterated his stance Monday that Cassel will be the starting quarterback when the Baltimore Ravens visit Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday.
Cassel threw three interceptions and the Chiefs turned the ball over six times in a 37-20 loss to the Chargers over the weekend.
STEELERS: Injured defensive stars James Harrison and Troy Polamalu practiced on Monday as the team returned from its bye week. Their status for next Sunday’s game is still uncertain.
JETS: Santonio Holmes is expected to be sidelined at least a few weeks after injuring his left foot Sunday.
Coach Rex Ryan says Monday that X-rays on the wide receiver’s foot were negative, but the team was awaiting results of an MRI exam, adding that they were “shipped to different places.” Ryan adds that he’s not sure “how many weeks” Holmes will be out, but says it looks “doubtful” for this week.