Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, recovering from leukemia, has inspired many of his players to shave their heads in support of his fight against the disease.
More than two dozen players along with several support-staff personnel decided to shave their heads in support Pagano, who’s started a second round of chemotherapy in his battle with leukemia, according to the Indianapolis Star.
“It’s all for Chuck,’’ said punter Pat McAfee Tuesday evening. “We all don’t look good. I’m not built to have a bald head. I’ve got a huge sniffer. But we all love our coach so much that we want to show unity and let people know we’re all in this together. It’s a really cool thing.’’
David Thornton, the director of player engagement, got things rolling after Tuesday’s practice. He had a barber waiting in a hallway as players walked off the practice field.
McAfee and defensive end Cory Redding were among the first to lose their hair.
“Then it kind of caught on like wildfire,’’ McAfee said.
The list of players includes McAfee, Redding, placekicker Adam Vinatieri, safety Antoine Bethea, running back Donald Brown, wide receiver Nathan Palmer, corneback Darius Butler, linebacker Kavell Conner, offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, guard Joe Reitz and long-snapper Matt Overton.
Pagano has been on indefinite leave since being diagnosed with leukemia and hospitalized Sept. 26. He was released from IU Health Simon Cancer Center Oct. 21 and attended the Colts’ 23-20 win over Miami last Sunday. Pagano addressed the team before and after the game.
Monday, it was announced he was in remission but still scheduled for two more rounds of chemotherapy.
The Colts travel to Jacksonville Thursday night. Many players will be sans hair.
“By the time Thursday comes around I think you’re going to see a very large number of bald-headed people playing for the Indianapolis Colts, all in support of our coach,’’ McAfee said.
“We haven’t been around each other very long. Our team was forced after all the changes to really build camaraderie and Chuck was that steadying piece. He motivated everybody. He was the guy that was pushing everything. We have grown to have a very close relationship with him in a short period of time.
“We’re a family and the coach is almost like a father figure. When something happens, you want to rally behind him.”
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