Chuck Pagano interviewed for head coaching positions with the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers before accepting the Bears’ offer for him to be their defensive coordinator. But the former Indianapolis Colts head coach chuckled when asked if he was still harboring ambitions to return to that role.
“I’m not,” Pagano said. “I’ve done it. I’m motivated to just help coach (Matt) Nagy be successful, help this organization be successful, help these kids grow and develop. That’s my motivation, is to be the best I can be for this organization, for the McCaskey family, for coach Nagy and for these players and for these coaches and help develop these guys. That’s the only thing I wanna do.”
Pagano had a 53-43 record in his six years with the Indianapolis Colts, and went 3-3 in the playoffs — with those six games all coming in his first three years with the team. The second half of his tenure was marred by a number of injuries to quarterback Andrew Luck, who missed nine games in 2015 and played 2016 with an injured shoulder that sidelined him for the entire 2017 season. The Colts went 8-8, 8-8 and 4-12 in those final three years, with the 4-12 season being the one that got Pagano fired.
“I was a lot better coach when 12 was under center than I was when he wasn't, and that's well documented,” Pagano said. “He probably got me a few more years than I may have deserved. My wife's going to kill me for saying that. She says, 'Don't say that.' I just keep it real.”
Pagano spent only one year as a defensive coordinator (with the Baltimore Ravens in 2011) before becoming a head coach. There were times with the Colts where he wished he could be a coordinator again — “ It wasn’t nothing to do with coaching, it wasn’t nothing to do with the football part of it, it was just some of the other stuff that comes with it,” Pagano said — and after a year away from the game in 2018, he said he feels fortunate to be back in it as a coach.
“It was the family the history, this organization, the fan base, all that stuff make this such an attractive job,” Pagano said. “Again, I feel like the luckiest man in the world right now.”