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Bruce Arians

Team/position: Indianapolis offensive coordinator-interim head coach

Age: 60

Previous NFL head coaching interviews: None that we’re aware of. He was head coach at Temple University from 1983 to 1988. Arians had a 27-39 record, but 10 of his Owls became NFL draft picks, including two first-rounders in Pittsburgh guard John Rienstra and Kansas City running back Paul Palmer. In late 1986, Arians was a finalist for the head coaching vacancy at Virginia Tech. The job went to Frank Beamer, who will soon complete his 26th season in the position.

Why is Arians radar-worthy?: One thing an NFL owner need not worry about is how Arians would respond under pressure. He was thrust into one of the worst coaching situations imaginable — having to replace Chuck Pagano four weeks into the season after his close friend was diagnosed with leukemia. Arians proceeded to guide Indianapolis to a 9-3 record and a playoff berth in Pagano’s absence. That marks the best record by an interim head coach since Don Coryell went 8-4 with San Diego in 1978. Keep in mind, too, that the Colts finished with a 2-14 record last season. Along with his head coaching duties, Arians maintained an active role in running the offense and helping develop Andrew Luck, just like he did with another franchise quarterback in Pittsburgh — Ben Roethlisberger.

Potential fit: San Diego. The Chargers could keep John Pagano (Chuck’s brother) as defensive coordinator and much of his staff intact after parting ways with head coach Norv Turner. Philip Rivers also would have another sharp offensive mind to work with as the quarterback tries to regain his standout form of 2010.

Trivia note: Arians, who was Virginia Tech’s team MVP as an option quarterback in 1974, also worked on Bear Bryant’s staff as Alabama’s running backs coach in the early 1980s. - Alex Marvez (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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