Chuck Pagano credits Andrew Luck for prolonging his time as Colts coach
Chuck Pagano was seemingly on the hot seat for many seasons before the Indianapolis Colts decided to move on from him, and he believes he would have been gone sooner if not for Andrew Luck.
Pagano was a guest on FS1’s “First Things First” Monday morning, and he had nothing but positive things to say about Luck. The former Colts coach said he believes Luck will be back to his old self in 2018, and he credited the QB with extending his coaching career in Indy.
“Everyone saw the picture of him on a bicycle from the Indy 500. He’s strapped, he’s ripped,” Pagano said, as transcribed by Matthew VanTryon of the Indy Star. “My wife, my three daughters, my granddaughter, they all thought he looked great. He’s in a great place mentally, he’s in a great place physically. I expect Andrew to be the old Andrew, to come back and play great football this season and beyond.
“Obviously he’s got a lot of work to do. He’s got to get back on the grass, he’s got to start throwing the football. He’s in a great place. I love Andrew Luck. He got me more years than I probably deserved. He’s a phenom.”
Until Luck is throwing actual NFL-sized footballs again, Colts fans are going to worry about his status. After all, team owner Jim Irsay insisted a year ago that Luck would be ready for Week 1, and he ended up not playing a single snap the entire 2017 season.
“Him not being able to play killed him. When you can’t be there for your teammates and you’re recovering and rehabbing, it kills you. Last year, it killed him,” Pagano said. “The great competitors want to be out there. This cat, he’s dying to get back on the football field. He understands, ‘OK, I’ve got to do A, B, C and D to get get myself back and make sure I’m ready.’ It’s the mental part, the physical part, he’s got to build chemistry with all the new guys on that team, he’s got to start throwing the football and he’s going to have to start taking some licks sometime.”
The Colts went 11-5 and made the playoffs in each of Pagano’s first three years with the team, but they were 20-28 over his final three seasons. Luck’s health issues had plenty to do with that, but it’s admirable of Pagano to say Luck was the reason he kept his job as long as he did. Based on what the Colts have said recently about Luck, they should have their starting quarterback on the field at some point this offseason.