Pagano: ‘I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t going to be’ emotion in return to Indy

Chuck Pagano, now the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, makes his first trip back to Indianapolis when the two teams play a preseason game on Saturday.
Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo

Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano returns to the city where he used to be the head coach when Chicago travels to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Saturday.

Less than a month into the 2012 season, Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and spent part of that year being treated for the disease before he could go on through a six-year stint as Colts coach.

Pagano said there is sure to be some emotion, even if it is a preseason game.

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t going to be any,” Pagano said. “I’m sure, once we get down there, step out on the field and go through all the pregame stuff, see a lot of old faces, shake a lot of hands, high-fives and all that stuff.

“But, no, it’s a business trip. We’ve got a game to play and all that stuff and there’s a lot on the line for a lot of these players. So our focus and our energy and everything has been in our preparation for the game. Had six great years there and have a lot of fond memories. So it’ll be pretty cool.”

The Bears won’t play many starters. Coach Matt Nagy said earlier in the week his approach will be similar to the previous preseason game. Starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been in for three plays this preseason, so he won’t get more snaps until the regular season. The Bears won’t play starters in the final preseason game Aug. 29 against Tennessee either, since it’s only a week from the start of the regular season against the Packers.

Kicker Eddy Pineiro remains the focus for the Bears after Elliott Fry was cut. If Pineiro can continue kicking effectively, he can prevent the Bears from signing another kicker when teams make final roster cuts.