In what could be the shortest retirement in history, Bruce Arians reportedly accepted an offer to be the Colts offensive coordinator just eight days after he left the Steelers.
The Steelers claim Arians retired, but Arians says he was not offered a contract for the 2012 season.
Arians was hired by new Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who was Baltimore’s defensive coordinator last season. Pagano must have seen something he liked in Arians, despite the Ravens holding the Steelers to 27 points in two games.
Pagano and Arians are two of the latest new hires in the complete overhaul of the Colts organization. Longtime president Bill Polian was fired earlier this offseason, leading to something of a rift between cornerstone player Peyton Manning and owner Jim Irsay. Reports came out this morning the two have spoken and have cleared the air.
The question is who will be Arians’ quarterback. All signs indicate the Colts will draft Stanford phenom Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in the 2012 Draft. The Colts owe Manning a bonus of $ 28 million in March, and speculation exists that Manning may be released.
If he isn’t, the Colts will tie up a significant amount of money in their quarterback position, but it may be unavoidable. Even with a healthy Manning, his absence in 2011 exposed the Colts as a very shallow team, talent-wise, and they may not be able to compete next season anyway.
As the Colts continue to overhaul their front office, the roster will be next. They may decide to gut their roster in a rebuilding fashion, which would suggest starting Luck.
In that case, Arians will have perhaps the most important coordinator position in the league. Success in developing Luck quickly into a high-level quarterback could keep him in mind for a head coaching position in a year or two.
This off-season saw many open positions go to relative surprise candidates, like Pagano, and Greg Schiano, who was announced as Tampa Bay’s head coach this week. Miami hired Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as its head coach as well.
Arians was Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator since Ken Whisenhunt was hired as Arizona’s head coach in 2007. He called plays in two Super Bowls, winning one. Known as a quarterback-friendly coach, Arians led Pittsburgh’s quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, to two Pro Bowls (2007 and 2011), and developed emerging WRs Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown into Pro Bowl level performers as well.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain