Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is winning his battle with leukemia.
On Monday, Larry Cripe, Pagano’s physician, said the illness that has sidelined Pagano for more than a month was in ‘‘complete remission.’’ Cripe said an exam showed Pagano’s white blood cell count and bone marrow tests were normal as he prepares to start a second round of chemotherapy.
The doctor explained patients typically undergo three rounds of treatment to wipe out any potentially lingering cancer cells. The second round of chemo is scheduled to start later this week and will last 4-6 weeks, Cripe said.
‘‘His [blood cell] count was great,’’ interim coach Bruce Arians told reporters after Pagano visited the team complex Monday. ‘‘He knows that this next [round] is going to be really tough and we’re praying for him, and he’s going to be fine.’’
The latest medical update came less than 24 hours after Pagano returned to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time since he was diagnosed with a form of leukemia Sept. 26.
Payton in limbo
Dismissing speculation that he might be interested in Sean Payton, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he has ‘‘a lot of faith’’ in coach Jason Garrett and has no idea if the suspended Saints coach might be available next season.
Payton was suspended for the season for his role in the bounty scandal. The league has taken issue with a clause in the contract extension he agreed to more than a year ago,.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, speaking to reporters before the Cowboys lost to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night, said he does not know if Payton might become a coaching free agent after the season.
‘‘The one contract that they sent in to us, we told them what the issue was,’’ Goodell said. ‘‘Now it’s up to the team and Sean Payton. So until I get something back, it’s up to them.’’
According to ESPN, the league objected to Payton being allowed to nix the deal if general manager Mickey Loomis was fired, suspended, or left the organization for any reason. Loomis received an eight-game suspension for his involvement in the bounty case.
Staying on the case
Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue has rejected a motion by players' attorneys to recuse himself as the arbitrator for the appeals hearing of players disciplined in the New Orleans Saints bounty case, according to a report on ESPN.com.
The report said the hearing will be held Nov. 20.
Tagliabue dismissed the players' argument that he could not be impartial. Players’ attorneys suggested his impartiality might be suspect because he is a former commissioner and a member the law firm that represents the current commissioner in legal issues in a New Orleans federal court.
The courts have not ruled on the players' request that Tagliabue be recused as the appeals arbitrator.
Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel sacked himself as defensive coordinator, and plans to spend more time with the team’s inept offense, while cornerback Stanford Routt was waived and defensive tackle Shaun Smith was signed.
Crennel had been juggling head coaching and coordinator duties since taking over on an interim basis when Todd Haley was fired last December. Gary Gibbs will take over as defensive coordinator.
‘‘We have a young team, you know? And some guys, their perception, all right, may be that I'm a defensive coach, or a defensive coordinator, and I don’t care about other parts of the team, which is not true,’’ Crennel said. ‘‘They will see I'm concerned about the whole team.’’
Raiders roughed up
Raiders running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson both have high ankle sprains that leave their status in doubt for the upcoming week. Both players left Sunday’s 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay with the injuries. Coach Dennis Allen said he hasn’t ruled either player out for Sunday’s game in Baltimore. Allen also said defensive tackle Desmond Bryant is home resting after spending the night in the hospital for an irregular heartbeat . . . Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin was using crutches Monday after suffering a badly sprained left ankle against Seattle and is unlikely to play Sunday against Detroit . . . The Jaguars will be without running back Maurice Jones-Drew (sprained left foot) for Thursday night’s game against Indianapolis . . . Bills starting defensive end Mark Anderson could miss another three weeks after having a setback recovering from left knee surgery.
A clearly agitated Redskins coach Mike Shanahan insisted Monday that he hadn’t given up on the playoffs. Shanahan acknowledged he didn’t give the ‘‘perfect quote’’ and that his words might not have been ‘‘crystal clear’’ when he spoke in the aftermath of Sunday’s 21-13 loss to the Panthers. It was the Redskins’ third straight loss and dropped their record to 3-5, prompting the coach to say after the game: ‘‘You lose a game like that, now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come.’’ Shanahan took to the podium and made a rambling attempt to explain his comment. ‘‘The remaining seven games that we have, each game, is kind of like a playoff game,’’ he said. “And what you want to do is see how your players respond. We will see how they play from now on for the rest of the season, and we'd better get their best shot because they'll be evaluated every game.’’ . . . Jets coach Rex Ryan and several of his players are among thousands of New Jersey residents that are still without power in their homes in the aftermath of last week’s Hurricane Sandy . . . The NFL said a 30-yard touchdown run by Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams should not have counted because of an inadvertent whistle.