One month into the job as the Colts' head coach, the former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator has quickly learned that his duties stretch well past studying film and devising game plans.
"I have so many things coming across my desk that are non-football related, I can't stand it," Pagano said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. "This is one thing you always hope and wish for to be a head football coach at any level. I'm finding out there are a lot of other responsibilities that come across my desk. I try to get there early to get some football out of the way.
"Once 8 o'clock rolls around, all of the other stuff starts to hammer at you. It's a unique process, but obviously an exciting one. This has been a whirlwind. It's the last thing I ever expected, but it's coming quick and fast."
The Colts and Pagano are facing multiple pressing decisions, primarily what to do with star quarterback Peyton Manning.
Manning has undergone several neck surgeries and is due a $28 million bonus on March 8, likely leading to his pending divorce from the AFC South franchise.
The Colts hold the top overall pick in the draft and are expected to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
They're also dealing with how to handle the pending free agency of defensive end Robert Mathis, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and center Jeff Saturday.
And Pagano is implementing a 3-4 defensive scheme that may not fit the 4-3 personnel currently on the roster.
Pagano has already hired former Baltimore assistants Marwan Maalouf and Roy Anderson.
It's possible he may go after some of the Ravens' free agents, including outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, inside linebacker Jameel McClain, safeties Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski and defensive end Cory Redding.
"It's a constant process evaluating our own guys," Pagano said. "Once free agency hits, having a personal relationship and knowing guys certainly helps."
Meanwhile, Pagano praised thanked Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome for their help in him getting to this point running an NFL team.
"My experience there was unbelievable," Pagano said. "The players, the fans, everybody in that organization has been phenomenal."
Pagano said he learned a lot from working for Harbaugh.
"A tremendous amount," Pagano said. "I think John being a first-timer four years ago when I came in with him, obviously daily things come at you that you never expect or have never been through. So, having a chance to see him go through it as a first-timer and all of the different things that he exposed us to and how he tackled different things. Obviously, he's a great friend and a confidant. And he will be a great sounding board for me moving forward."
MEETING WITH ADAMS: Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams said he's meeting with the Ravens at the scouting combine.
The 6-foot-7, 323-pounder is regarded as having an outside shot at falling to the Ravens' 29th overall selection of the first round. He's been linked to the Ravens in a few mock drafts.
The Ravens' primary needs on the offensive line are at center and offensive guard with six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk contemplating retirement and Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs
Adams was dogged by off-field incidents while playing for the Buckeyes, including serving a five-game suspension last season for receiving improper benefits in violation of NCAA team rules.
Three years ago Adams was suspended for two games for violating team rules. He was cited for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and running through a stop sign. The drug paraphernalia charge was dropped by law enforcement authorities.
"I had some bumps in the road earlier in my career, but I think that I used those things to build my character rather than to bring it down," Adams said. "I think my character is something that my teammates and coaches at Ohio State would vouch for. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm not a bad guy. I've definitely made some mistakes, but I've definitely learned from them."
The Ravens could use Adams for the future considering that Bryant McKinnie is entering the final year of his contract.
Adams started off slowly at the Senior Bowl, but drew praise from NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock for his competitiveness and strength.
"My athleticism, blocking in space, is definitely a strength," said Adams, adding that he emulates NFL offensive tackles Jake Long and Joe Thomas. "I like to play through the whistle in the run game. … As an offensive lineman, especially in the NFL, pass protection is where they say you make your money. It's something that I pride myself on doing well and something that I'll keep striving to get better at."
The Ravens also met with University of Georgia center Ben Jones, a potential second-round or third-round target.
MIKE WALLACE UPDATE: The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to use a first-round tender to hold onto restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace and are even contemplating using the franchise tag on him.
The Ravens are looking for help at wide receiver, but general manager Ozzie Newsome has already indicated his aversion to giving up a first-round draft pick on top of all the money it would take to sign Wallace.
"I'm pretty sure that he's going to be protected with a first-round pick at minimum," Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. "There's always the franchise possibility. We're going to do everything we can to make sure that Mike Wallace remains a Pittsburgh Steeler and I think that's Mike's belief as well. Usually when you have two parties that share the same goal, it's easier to achieve that goal."
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