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Colts keep focus on football as Pagano recovers

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012
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"The one thing that I think we have to be very aware of is not getting overexcited, overhyped to try to do something extra. We don't need to do anything extra," Arians said. "We just need to play, coach every day like we have and prepared like we have and not get caught up in snot bubbles and tears. They don't beat anybody."

Some of the veterans understand because they've been through the emotional shockwaves of NFL life.

A few Colts players are still around from the days Tony Dungy's son committed suicide in 2005 and Reggie Wayne's brother was killed in a traffic accident in 2006. Center Samson Satele was playing in Oakland last season when Raiders owner Al Davis died, and Redding was mourning along with his ex-teammate, Baltimore receiver Torrey Smith, who lost his younger brother in a fatal motorcycle accident less than two weeks ago.

Those who been through other tragedies are now trying to pass those lessons along to a large group of young guys including Luck who acknowledged Wednesday that he's never been through anything quite like this.

"You have to keep your emotions under control," Redding said. "That's the way it is in any profession."

It won't be easy.

Pagano has been widely embraced by his new players despite holding the job for less than 10 months.

He is expected to be hospitalized six to eight weeks as he undergoes treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia, an illness in which the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells that interfere with healthy blood cells.

Moments after Monday's announcement, team owner Jim Irsay made this week's goal clear — beat the Packers (2-2) so the team could take a game ball to Pagano.

Arians worries the emotional quest to win one for Pagano could create an undue burden on players, something neither he nor Pagano want the team to be dealing with as they prepare for the Packers.

"I think more and more as the week progresses, the emphasis is going to be more and more on win this game for Chuck," Arians said. "Chuck doesn't want that."

Instead, Pagano and the Colts staff want these players to practice and play the way would Pagano has been preaching — a point that seemed to resonate during Tuesday's day off.

"There will be a little bit of a focus to try to not get too emotional," Luck said. "Coach Pagano wouldn't want us crying about him before the game. ... I don't think we will."

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