As the Indianapolis Colts walked off the practice field Tuesday, the players noticed that a barber was waiting in a nearby hallway. At first, defensive end Cory Redding and punter Pat McAfee took the plunge and shaved their heads. Soon, more and more of their teammates joined in. When all was said and done, more than two dozen Colts and several support staff members walked out of practice as bolder and balder men.
The new look is a tribute to Indianpolis coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia and has lost his hair.
"It’s all for Chuck," McAfee told the Indianapolis Star on Tuesday. "We all don’t look good. I'm not built to have a bald head. I’ve got a huge sniffer. But we all love our coach so much that we want to show unity and let people know we’re all in this together. It’s a really cool thing."
Pagano was hospitalized with leukemia on Sept. 26 and released on Oct. 21. This week Pagano's physician announced that his cancer was in remission, but he'll still need to go through two more rounds of chemotherapy.
Pagano attended Indianapolis' matchup this weekend against the Miami Dolphins, and he gave moving speech in the locker room after the Colts' 23-20 victory.
There are many new pieces on this year's Colts squad, including Pagano himself, and McAfee said the players have bonded over their unique situation.
“We haven’t been around each other very long," McAfee told the Star. "Our team was forced after all the changes to really build camaraderie and Chuck was that steadying piece. He motivated everybody. He was the guy that was pushing everything. We have grown to have a very close relationship with him in a short period of time."