NFL.Com's Ian Rapoport reports that the Bears have requested permission to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who also served as the Colts' interim head coach for 12 games this season following Chuck Pagano's leukemia diagnosis:

Arians was widely expected to be a name of interest for the Bears and other teams after leading the Colts to a 9-3 record that ultimately placed them in the playoffs. That's after they finished with the NFL's worst record in 2011, at 2-14.

Now, rookie quarterback Andrew Luck is the No. 1 reason for the Colts' turnaround, but Arians still deserves a TON of credit for the success (and with Luck's development as well), especially when you consider the rough emotional situation the young Colts team was put in when Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. The Colts are the NFL's story of the year, and Arians may even win Coach of the Year. It would be well deserved.

Like the situation with the Packers and offensive coordinator Tom Clements, requesting permission from the Colts for an interview with Arians is a formality, as teams cannot block a coordinator from interviewing for the promotion that a head coaching job is. Only lateral moves can be blocked.

Arians is in his first year with the Colts after serving as the Steelers' offensive coordinator from 2007-2011.  So, he was the play-caller for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a Steelers team that made the playoffs in four of the five years he was offensive coordinator, winning the Super Bowl in one of those years (2008).

The former college quarterback at Virginia Tech was the Steelers' wide receivers coach in 2004-2006, after also being the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2001-2003. He's held plenty of other jobs as an assistant coach on offenses at the college and pro ranks for years, and even was the head coach for Temple University in 1983-1998.

Oh, and his first go-around with the Colts was in 1998-2000... as Peyton Manning's first quarterbacks coach in the NFL.

The 60-year-old has always had a reputation as the NFL's top offensive minds, and he certainly showed this season that he has the leadership qualities necessary for an NFL head coach.

Zach Zaidman with some quotes from Pagano on Arians as a head coaching candidate:

Arians recently explained how he's "not just gonna run away (from his Colts job) to be a head coach":

“We’ll listen to see if it’s right for me and my family. I’m not just gonna run away to be a head coach, I’m not gonna do that,” Arians said. “I want to make sure they have a chance to win and see what the situation is, what city it is in. But definitely would listen, yes.”
Source: Pro Football Talk

The Bears certainly have the best chance to win now (hey, they just won 10 games) of the teams with head coaching vacancies, and Chicago is certainly a great city, within a five-hour drive of his current location (and where I assume his family resides). You would think the Bears' job is the type of situation that would appeal to him.

Arians becomes the seventh name the Bears are known to be looking at for the head coaching job, joining Clements, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, and Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong as candidates.

You'll notice that there are no defensive-minded guys on that list, although Emery did say the Bears would interview such candidates. There's certainly a trend with most of these candidates so far (something I also wrote about last night): offensively-minded and a history of working with great quarterbacks.

I'll leave you with these quotes from Bears veteran tight end Matt Spaeth, who played in Arians' offense with the Steelers from 2007-2010:

UPDATE: Permission granted (although, again, it had to be) and Arians will interview next week.
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