It didn't take long for the Colts to figure out how to honor the first-time head coach who rekindled excitement in the locker room and around town after the Colts' awful 2-14 season a year ago.
"I asked Mr. Irsay if we would leave the light on in his office permanently till he comes back and we are going to do that," Arians said.
The news trickled out publicly just as players and assistant coaches were returning to the team complex after the Colts' bye week and one day before Pagano's 52nd birthday.
He was admitted to an Indianapolis hospital last Wednesday to begin treatments for acute promyelocytic leukemia, an illness in which the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells that interfere with healthy blood cells. Symptoms can include weakness, weight loss and easy bruising or bleeding.
Pagano's physician, Dr. Larry Cripe, said the coach will be treated with chemotherapy and drugs — a process that usually requires patients to spend four to five weeks in the hospital. Irsay said he expected Pagano to stay a bit longer, six to eight weeks. Indy (1-2) hosts the Packers (2-2) on Sunday.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, the No. 2 draft pick behind Andrew Luck, wrote on Twitter: "Football is football. But Life is more important. Sending Prayers up for Coach Chuck Pagano during this trying time."
Chargers coach Norv Turner, who has known Pagano since 1984 when they were both on the Southern California staff, echoed Griffin's sentiments and acknowledged that Pagano's younger brother, John, the Chargers defensive coordinator, struggled with his emotions last week.
"You get all caught up in losing a game to Atlanta and then on Wednesday morning you get a call that your brother has leukemia," Turner said. "It puts things in perspective. John did a great job this week, unbelievable job, handling what he had to handle and then getting ready."