The Washington Times-Herald

Indianapolis Colts

November 15, 2012

Arians in odd position

INDIANAPOLIS —

Indianapolis Colts interim coach Bruce Arians finds himself in a rather odd position.
 
Arians, a long time assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Colts, had always harbored dreams of being a head coach in the National Football League. But he just never thought that his opportunity would ever come.
 
"Once, when the Cleveland [head coaching] job came open, I thought that I might get a call. Never really heard anything though," Arians said recently.
 
That's why, when he was forced out as an assistant in Pittsburgh after eight years as an assistant there (the final five as the team's offensive coordinator), the Patterson, New Jersey native figured his time in the NFL was through.
 
Arians was all set to retire with his wife Christine at their off-season home in Georgia. But life can sometimes offer up some strange turns. Such was the case for the former Virginia Tech quarterback.
 
Within days of being let go by Pittsburgh, Arians received a phone call from long time friend and former coaching cohort Chuck Pagano. The two had worked together in Cleveland as assistants and had developed a pretty strong friendship.
 
When Pagano was named as the Colts' new head coach, one of the first people he contacted about a position on his coaching staff was Arians.
 
"Are you retired?," Pagano asked. "Are you hiring?," his friend responded.
 
From that time on, the two have been paired at the hip. When Pagano was initially diagnosed with leukemia in September, one of the first people he told was Arians. And when somebody had to be named to be the Colts' interim coach while Pagano went through treatments to battle the disease, once again the obvious answer was Arians.
 
A former head coach on the collegiate level at Temple for six seasons, he had experience at running a team on his own. As an assistant coach in Indianapolis in the late 1990s, he served as Peyton Manning's first quarterbacks coach in the league. Later on, he worked with former No. 1 pick Tim Couch in Cleveland and then first-round pick Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.

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