Bruce Arians’ journey continues

Indianapolis Colts former interim head coach and offensive

Indianapolis Colts former interim head coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians listens as head coach Chuck Pagano speaks during a news conference. (Dec. 24, 2012) (Credit: AP)

On Jan. 20, 2011, Bruce Arians announced that he was done with the NFL, deciding to retire after not being retained as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator.

Happy Anniversary, coach.

Through an absolutely astonishing set of circumstances, Arians went from being out of the NFL, to joining the Colts as offensive coordinator just eight days after saying he was through with the game.

And now, after a season in which he went 9-3 as the Colts’ interim head coach after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, Arians has realized his dream of becoming an NFL head coach.

“I never thought it was going to come, and I appreciate it so much,” said Arians, 60, who was named the Cardinals’ head coach on Thursday. “I’ll give it every single thing I have, and the passion and energy that I bring to this is something I love to do.”

Arians, who was also considered for openings in Chicago and San Diego, takes over for Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired after a 5-11 season in 2012. There is plenty of work to be done, but it starts with the quarterback. Arians is hopeful that Kevin Kolb, who missed most of the 2012 season with a rib injury, can stay healthy and show improvement next season.

The coach’s track record should serve him well; he teamed with Ben Roethlisberger to win a Super Bowl with the Steelers, and he tutored Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick last year, with the Colts. Arians’ best work came when he took over after Pagano got sick.

“What he did in my absence was truly remarkable,” Pagano said. “I am forever indebted to Bruce.”

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