Chuck Pagano Reportedly to Return as Colts Head Coach: Latest Details, Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24:  Head coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts stands on the field during warmups prior to their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on December 24, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

A last-second change of heart saved Chuck Pagano's job after the 2015 season, and it appears he's done it again.

According to Alex Marvez of SportingNews.com, the Colts are expected to bring Pagano back for a sixth season as head coach in 2017.

The Colts are 49-31 under Pagano, including games Bruce Arians coached while the former was recovering from his 2012 leukemia diagnosis.

After beginning his run in Indy with three straight playoff appearances and two division crowns, the Colts missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons. Quarterback Andrew Luck's injury issues were written off as the reason for their 8-8 record in 2015, but matching that this season didn't engender much faith.

Indianapolis lost its first two games and began the regular season 1-3, spending most of the time chasing the Houston Texans.

"The record is what it is; I can't change history," Pagano recently told reporters. "All we can do is keep moving forward and try to rectify what's taken place. It's not this organization. It's unacceptable. Every man and coach up and down these hallways will tell you that. The standard is the standard. We know what the expectations are and that is to win. That's what everybody came here to do."

Pagano's coaching decisions also became the source of frustration among media and fans. Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star labeled him a "liability" as a decision-maker. However, it's clear his players like him and will fight for him; the backroom dealings that saved his job a year ago were evidence of that.

General manager Ryan Grigson's job looks safe, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, but Pagano could be forced to gut his coaching staff as part of his agreement.

The AFC South is a winnable division with no team standing out as a clear favorite entering 2017, but with the advantage of having Luck at his disposal, Pagano may be approaching his final chance to return to the playoffs and make some noise.

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