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Coach Pagano's Special Assistant Adds Inspiration
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The San Diego Chargers are always motivated, but there was some extra inspiration on the field Sunday afternoon.
Leukemia is a disease close to Defensive Coordinator John Pagano’s heart after his brother Chuck was diagnosed with it in 2012. Luckily, Chuck is now in remission, but the Chargers coach is still active in giving and supporting the research for a cure. At a recent Leukemia Society event in San Diego, Pagano auctioned off the chance to be an assistant coach at a training camp practice, and on Sunday, the Bolts had a new inspirational coach on the field with them in young cancer survivor Enzo.
“We had the opportunity to raise enough money for Enzo, a cancer survivor right now in total remission, to be able to be an assistant coach for the day,” Pagano explained. “He had a blast with it! I think the players like him a little bit more than me because he doesn’t say a lot, and that’s important…. “He did great. He was a little in awe of everybody and just the size of everyone. But he threw great passes and really did a great job throwing to the defensive backs. Then we went down and he got a chance to work with the defensive linemen and watch how they come off the ball. So he was a great coach today.”
Afterward, Enzo explained what a special experience it was being an assistant coach for the day.
“I got to throw the balls to the Chargers and I was running,” Enzo said. “It was fun. (Coach Pagano) is fun.”
For Pagano, the experience was an equally rewarding one that resonated with the team.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “This is what it’s all about. Anybody like that who has (this) opportunity (after) the fight that he’s had and what he went through; to be able to come out here on the field is something very special.”