Michigan coach Brady Hoke considers Chuck Pagano to be, as he put it, "one of ours."
The Indianapolis Colts announced last week that Pagano, the Colts' first-year coach, is on a leave of absence while undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Before Saturday's game against Illinois, Hoke and his staff will wear royal blue t-shirts emblazoned with "CHUCKSTRONG" and an orange ribbon that symbolizes leukemia awareness.
At $20 a shirt, proceeds of the "ChuckStrong" campaign go to leukemia research at Indiana University's Simon Cancer Center. The Wolverines bought 50 shirts. That's a nice chunk of change on behalf of Michigan football.
At San Diego State, Hoke knew Pagano's brother, John, who is a defensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers. Pagano worked with Greg Mattison when both were with the Baltimore Ravens, and secondary coach Curt Mallory grew up with Pagano in Colorado.
It's not a fashion statement as much as it is support for a person who, right now, isn't putting football on the front burner, as so many coaches, assistant coaches, and players are apt to do from August to February. Maybe even longer.
It's a gesture by the Wolverines that provides some perspective and reflects a certain sense of community within the sport: It's not always about football.
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