INDIANAPOLIS –This week, the Colts got around to nominating captains for the remainder of the season, and those voted by their teammates all are pleased with the honor.
Offensive captains are wide receiver Reggie Wayne and quarterback Andrew Luck. Defensive captains are linebacker Robert Mathis and defensive end Cory Redding. Special teams captains are Pat McAfee and Joe Lefeged.
The six were voted on by teammates, something that brings a special feeling.
"It's really cool. It's an honor," said McAfee. "We have such a great group of humans here. Any time you're voted to something amongst your peers, it's something that means much more. I appreciate the respect."
Mathis is behind only Wayne and Dwight Freeney in longevity with the Colts. Mathis was an unheralded 2003 draft pick who was a senior team captain at Alabama A&M. The second-leading sacker in club history is grateful.
"I'm very honored. It's a special feeling. I've never been an official captain since college. I thank God for everything from 2003 until today. It's an honor," said Mathis.
The team has elected season captains since 2002, with previous ones being defensive end Chad Bratzke, safety Melvin Bullitt, quarterback Peyton Manning, linebacker Gary Brackett, kicker Adam Vinatieri and linebacker David Thornton.
"Any time you're voted something positive by your teammates, it means a lot more than other awards," said Luck. "It's special as a player. I'm truly honored."
Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians said today Chuck Pagano is doing well in his battle with leukemia. The third and final round of chemotherapy started this week. It is hoped Pagano can return for the December 30 finale with Houston. If so, Pagano will sit firmly in the saddle.
"I talked with him today, and he sounded a little weaker," said Arians. "His (blood) count is going down. It has to go down before it can come back up. He knows it. His spirits are great. He knows there is no more poisoning going into his body. The chemotherapy's over. Right now, it's a matter of getting healthy, strong and strong enough to be able to maintain the grind as the coach.
"I look forward to Chuck's return, I really do. It has been an honor to take over, and it's been fun to have the chance to sit in that chair. I can't wait for the day he comes back. When he's back, he is the head coach. That would be the doctor's decision, Mr. Irsay and Chuck's. I welcome it."
Arians' first wish when he assumed the interim role in late September was that the lights be left on in Pagano's office until his return. The lights have remained on and have not needed changing.
"I don't think so. I think we have some good ones. They haven't been off, I promise you that (laughs)," said Arians.
INJURY UPDATE – Arians said safety Tom Zbikowski and running back Donald Brown will miss the Tennessee game. Zbikowski hurt a knee in the Buffalo game, while Brown (ankle) exited the Detroit game. Offensive linemen Joe Reitz and Winston Justice continue to rebound from concussions from last Sunday. When they are cleared, they will return to practice. It was the second concussion this year for Justice.