Pagano makes grand entrance in return to sideline

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Associated Press

Posted on December 30, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 30 at 8:36 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts coach Chuck Pagano received a warm welcome in his return to the sideline Sunday, then watched his team score on its first drive.

With drums playing and the Colts cheerleaders lining up both sides of an inflatable horse, Pagano walked to his usual spot on the sideline, put on his headphones and hugged his assistants. It was his first appearance on the sideline since he began treatment for leukemia Sept. 26.

Pagano's Colts took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards to Andrew Luck's touchdown pass to Coby Fleener. The coach threw his hands in the air and wore a huge smile after Fleener caught the ball to end a 13-play drive.

Some fans brought signs to show their support for Pagano, and the team welcomed him back with a 1-minute video just before kickoff. Afterward, an emotional Pagano waved to the crowd.

During pregame warm-ups, Pagano hugged his wife and was followed by a large group of cameras. He shook hands with Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and chatted with Colts GM Ryan Grigson.

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