The Indianapolis Colts are expected to part ways with coach Chuck Pagano, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Colts, 3-12 and last in the AFC South going into their season finale against the 4-11 Houston Texans on Sunday, have missed the playoffs each of the past three years and struggled this season without injured star quarterback Andrew Luck.
This season will be the team’s worst since Indianapolis finished 2-14 in 2011.
Colts owner Jim Irsay opted to retain Pagano when then-general manager Ryan Grigson was fired last January, saying at the time that splitting up the coach-GM pairing was “what’s best” for the franchise.
Pagano, despite being just two years into a four-year deal, acknowledged in early December that his job security was tenuous, saying “the shelf life for these jobs isn’t long.”
The Colts’ struggles over the past three years under Pagano have coincided with Luck’s injury woes. The three-time Pro Bowler has been sidelined 26 games over that stretch and missed the entire 2017 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Pagano led the Colts to the playoffs — including reaching the AFC Championship Game in 2014 — in each of his first three seasons. They went undefeated in the AFC South in 2013 and 2014.
But things started to change in 2015, when the Colts posted the first of back-to-back 8-8 seasons. Indianapolis has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1997-98.
Pagano, 57, is 52-43 ahead of Sunday’s regular-season finale in his almost six full seasons with the Colts. He missed 12 games to undergo treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia in his first season with the team in 2012. Doctors announced later that year that Pagano’s cancer is in remission.
Pagano arrived in Indianapolis in 2012 as a first-time head coach with a defensive reputation after being defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. The defensive results never materialized, however, as Indianapolis finished 20th or worse in total defense in five of Pagano’s six seasons, including 31st in 2017.
Pagano’s inability to beat AFC contenders Pittsburgh and New England also hurt him; the Colts were a combined 0-8 against those two teams under Pagano. They lost by an average of 24.3 points to the Steelers and by an average of 24.6 points to the Patriots.