Chuck Pagano has been selected by the Pro Football Writers of America as the 2013 George Halas Award winner.
The award is given annually to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.
Pagano took a leave of absence in his first year as head coach of the Colts after just three games to battle acute promyelocytic leukemia, a curable form of the disease, which is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow cells.
While away, he was in constant communication with interim coach Bruce Arians, who won NFL coach of the year honors and is now head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
Pagano’s moving postgame locker room speech to the team after its Nov. 11, 2013 victory over Miami was a highlight of the NFL season.
And he rejoined the team to coach its final regular season game, a home win over Houston that secured an improbable 11-5 record. A week later, the Colts lost a divisional round playoff game in Baltimore.
Pagano is now in remission and will seek to take Indianapolis back to the playoffs in his second year as the Colts coach.