INDIANAPOLIS — Chuck Pagano arrives as early as possible in the morning to work at the Indianapolis Colts’ offices, rising early in order to get a head start on all football activities.
One month into the job as the Colts’ head coach, the former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator has quickly learned that his duties stretch well past studying film and devising game plans.
"I have so many things coming across my desk that are non-football related, I can’t stand it," Pagano said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. "This is one thing you always hope and wish for to be a head football coach at any level. I’m finding out there are a lot of other responsibilities that come across my desk. I try to get there early to get some football out of the way.
"Once 8 o’clock rolls around, all of the other stuff starts to hammer at you. It’s a unique process, but obviously an exciting one. This has been a whirlwind. It’s the last thing I ever expected, but it’s coming quick and fast."
The Colts and Pagano are facing multiple pressing decisions, primarily what to do with star quarterback Peyton Manning.
Manning has undergone several neck surgeries and is due a $28 million bonus on March 8, likely leading to his pending divorce from the AFC South franchise.
The Colts hold the top overall pick in the draft and are expected to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
They’re also dealing with how to handle the pending free agency of defensive end Robert Mathis, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and center Jeff Saturday.
And Pagano is implementing a 3-4 defensive scheme that may not fit the 4-3 personnel currently on the roster.
Pagano has already hired former Baltimore assistants Marwan Maalouf and Roy Anderson.
It’s possible he may go after some of the Ravens’ free agents, including outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, inside linebacker Jameel McClain, safeties Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski and defensive end Cory Redding.
"It’s a constant process evaluating our own guys," Pagano said. "Once free agency hits, having a personal relationship and knowing guys certainly helps."
Meanwhile, Pagano praised thanked Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome for their help in him getting to this point running an NFL team.
"My experience there was unbelievable," Pagano said. "The players, the fans, everybody in that organization has been phenomenal."
Pagano said he learned a lot from working for Harbaugh.
"A tremendous amount," Pagano said. "I think John being a first-timer four years ago when I came in with him, obviously daily things come at you that you never expect or have never been through. So, having a chance to see him go through it as a first-timer and all of the different things that he exposed us to and how he tackled different things. Obviously, he’s a great friend and a confidant. And he will be a great sounding board for me moving forward."