"I really believe Chuck is bringing a toughness, the leadership we need at this point for the franchise," Irsay told reporters, noting that eight candidates were considered before he hired of Pagano.
"Words can't describe the emotions that I'm going through right now and the feelings," Pagano said. "Coming off probably the most devastating loss that I've ever been a part of in the AFC Championship Game and to go in that locker room and see those faces, and we all know how hard it is to get to that stage and to see the tears. It's an all-time low, and the last thing I ever expected came across my table and now I sit here at an all-time high."
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Clearly, Pagano's job won't be easy.
The first-time head coach will work with a first-time general manager, Ryan Grigson, and the next big move will be to decide what to do with four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning, who missed the entire season after having his latest neck surgery in September. The Colts must pay Manning $28 million by March 8 or risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent.
Pagano would only say the situation with Manning "will take care of itself."
Another decision for Pagano, who ran a 3-4 defense in Baltimore, is whether or not he will make that switch in Indianapolis, which is built with personnel to run a 4-3 defense.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.