Indianapolis Colts interim coach Bruce Arians expects Chuck Pagano to make all the calls when he gets back on the sideline.
Pagano has been on an indefinite leave from the team since being diagnosed with leukemia Sept. 26. He’s been undergoing chemotherapy.
The team is hoping Pagano can make it back for the regular-season finale Dec. 30 against Houston.
On Wednesday, Arians acknowledged that when Pagano returns — whether it’s for the Texans game, earlier or perhaps for a playoff game — he will have full control of the team.
Since Arians stepped in for Pagano, the Colts (7-4) have gone 6-2 and moved into strong position to make the playoffs.
Only six coaches in NFL history have taken over at midseason and won more games than Arians.
Kaepernick to start again
Colin Kaepernick has earned himself a third consecutive start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
Coach Jim Harbaugh made the announcement Wednesday that Kaepernick would go Sunday at St. Louis over Alex Smith after the second-year pro led the NFC West-leading Niners (8-2-1) to victories in the past two games, his first two NFL starts.
“The rationale is we have two quarterbacks that we feel great about as a starting quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “Both have earned it, both deserve it — Alex over a long period of time, Colin by virtue of the last three games. It tips the scales. Colin we believe has the hot hand. We’ll go with Colin. And we’ll go with Alex. They’re both our guys.”
Jaguars claim Babin
The Jacksonville Jaguars claimed two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin off waivers from Philadelphia.
The Jaguars (2-9) will pay the remaining $1.69 million of Babin’s 2012 salary, essentially taking a low-risk look at someone who could significantly upgrade one of the league’s worst pass rushes.
Jacksonville has a league-low 13 sacks, a glaring weakness on a team filled with holes.
The Jaguars gave Jeremy Mincey a four-year contract worth $20 million in March, but he has two sacks. They also drafted Andre Branch in the second round, but he has played sparingly the last two months.
Babin has 5½ sacks after recording 18 last year.
Around the league
The Washington Redskins claimed linebacker Bryan Kehl off waivers and released linebacker Mario Addison. Kehl spent training camp with the Redskins but was cut at the end of preseason. He has since played three games with the Kansas City Chiefs before being cut this week. … Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young has returned to the team. Young practiced Wednesday for the first time since the Lions told him to stay away. … The Oakland Raiders held linebacker Rolando McClain out of practice because of an undisclosed team-related issue. … The San Diego Chargers claimed wide receiver and kick returner Michael Spurlock off waivers from Jacksonville and waived running back Curtis Brinkley. … The Seattle Seahawks could be without defensive end Red Bryant this week at Chicago because of a foot problem. Bryant did not practice Wednesday and coach Pete Carroll said the foot issue has been bothering Seattle’s big run stopper for some time. … Arizona Cardinals ironman center Lyle Sendlein is out for the season with a torn left MCL. … The Chicago Bears added linebacker Patrick Trahan to the active roster from the practice squad.
Fine time in NFL
The NFL fined Ndamukong Suh $30,000 for unnecessary roughness because he kicked Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area. … Jared Allen’s hit on Lance Louis knocked the Chicago Bears guard out for the rest of the season and earned the Minnesota Vikings defensive end plenty of scorn from his division rivals. Allen was fined $21,000 for the hit. … Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas says he has been fined $15,000 for his roughing the passer penalty against Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill last week.