Indianapolis Colts

Ex-NFL Pro Bowler: Chuck Pagano cut me 'because I took a knee'

Ex-NFL Pro Bowler: Chuck Pagano cut me 'because I took a knee'

Ex-NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie is making headlines on Wednesday after talking to Bleacher Report about the end of his time with the Indianapolis Colts. 

Speaking with B/R's Master Tesfatsion for a segment titled 'B/R Untold Stories,' Cromartie said that he believes that Chuck Pagano – who was the Colts' head coach at the time – cut Cromartie for taking a knee during the National Anthem. 

"We are in a team meeting, and Coach Pagano gets up and says, 'Look, guys. I know you all wanna do something. I don't want you guys taking a knee.

"He said when go out on the football field, it's about football." 

Cromartie still took a knee, and was subsequently benched for the second half of that game. He also mentioned that in a game against the Chargers, team executives asked him to stand up. When he refused to do so, the team surrounded him, with one person holding a towel to obscure the view. 

"Two or three days after I took a knee, I got three or four phone calls," he added. "... I didn't recognize the number, so I answered. They said, 'Hey, yo, you in the facility?' and I said, 'Yeah, why? What's up?' They told me that Chuck Pagano wanted to see you." 

When he met with team officials, the Colts told him he'd be released and asked for him to turn in his playbook. Pagano and the Colts told him it was because the secondary was getting healthy, but Cromartie remains skeptical. 

"It didn't have anything to do with my age, it didn't have anything to do with my style of play," he told Tesfatsion. "It was because I took a knee. October 2nd was my last game. I got one workout that whole entire time." 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano ‘will forever be a huge Andrew Luck fan’

chuck-pagano.jpg
USA Today

Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano ‘will forever be a huge Andrew Luck fan’

The entire NFL is still reeling from the Andrew Luck’s bombshell decision to retire from football.

The story that overshadowed the Bears third preseason game in Indianapolis has the whole league reacting to the bold move from one of the most talented quarterbacks in the game.

Former Colts head coach and current Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano issued a statement Sunday on the player he drafted No. 1 overall in 2012.

“Our friendship extends well beyond player-coach and I wish him, his beautiful wife Nicole and their growing family nothing but the best,” Pagano said. “I will forever be a huge Andrew Luck fan.”

Pagano and Luck combined to go 43-27 over five seasons together. The head coach saw his quarterback through abdomen and shoulder injuries that eventually cost him the entire 2017 season and led to Pagano’s departure.

Luck, of course, was by his coach’s side when he battled Leukemia in 2012.

The quarterback’s retirement ultimately comes down to his health, and Pagano knows better than anyone how Luck battled through issues the last seven years.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck set to retire after preseason game versus Bears

andrew-luck-retirement.jpg
USA Today

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck set to retire after preseason game versus Bears

As the Bears and Colts starters watched the third preseason game from the bench, one star was already planning his exit strategy.

During the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s game, ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped a bomb that shook the NFL.

Luck was set to enter his seventh season, although he missed all of 2017 with an injury. An offseason leg issue has lingered into the preseason, and now he’s ready to call it quits.

The Colts opted to leave backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett on the bench for the game against the Bears because of Luck’s injury. Now, he’s their starter for Week 1, reinforcing the decision to hold him out.

Luck was shown on the sidelines with his teammates during the broadcast, riding it out for one last weekend before hanging up the cleats. The NFL will miss one of the league’s most talented quarterbacks who left a career unfulfilled.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.