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Chuck Pagano's cancer diagnoses difficult for Colts

Anybody who has had a loved one diagnosed with cancer knows it's a nasty disease. Chemotherapy weakens the body as the treatment kills both cancerous and normal cells.

Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has already begun chemotherapy in an attempt to cure recently diagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia. His treatment could take two years.

"It's a marathon ... no question about it," Colts owner Jim Irsay said.

It seems irreverent to even think about football in these situations. Thank goodness the Colts had a bye this week. Pagano had been fatigued in recent weeks and noticed bruising. His wife suggested he see a doctor. He might not have if the team was in the midst of game-week preparation.

The Colts were already starting from scratch with a new general manager, new coaching staff and a revamped roster with No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck replacing Peyton Manning. Pagano quickly endeared himself to the organization.

"The special thing about Chuck, he's a salt of the Earth man, the type of man you hope to aspire to be," Irsay said. "The type of guy who goes out of his way. He's going to be greatly missed."

The team begins the week with this kind of news under the direction of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was hand-picked by Pagano to lead in his absence. There were tears when Irsay informed the team. The Colts hope Pagano can resume some of his duties this season, but Irsay added it's, "probably not in the cards that he will be able to be all in this season."

Dr Larry Cripe of the IU Simon Cancer Center is treating Pagano. He said, "I don't know when he'll feel well enough to resume full responsibilities."

This is Pagano's first opportunity to lead a team after spending 28 years as a professional and collegiate assistant.

When someone close to you is fighting this type of disease, it's always in the back of your mind. It will be difficult to fully focus on football. These will be tough days for Pagano, his family and everyone associated with the organization.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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