When Bruce Arians pulled into the Lucas Oil parking lot Thursday morning, he stayed in the car a bit longer than normal.
No, he wasn’t afraid to step back into a midwestern winter.
Instead, he wanted to cherish the fourth quarter comebacks and inspirational message from a fighting friend that took place in that stadium over the last six months.
“A lot of great memories that will never be forgotten, relationships, people, that happened in this building last year that are very special,” Arians said.
Arians admitted that it was going to take a whole lot to lure him away from his offensive coordinator position in Indianapolis.
He found that in Arizona and will welcome his former team to the Pacific time zone next fall as the two team’s meet in the 2013 regular season for the first time in four years.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano will oppose Arians for a few hours on that weekend before their friendship quickly resumes following the final whistle.
On Thursday, Arians talked about the message he gave the Colts when it was learned that Pagano would miss a significant portion of the season.
“The easy part was if Chuck is fighting that fight than why couldn’t we win games? Why couldn’t we fight?” Arians said.
“It was an amazing, emotional ride the entire time.”
The 11-5 record, and nine wins with Arians as interim head coach, led to a return to the playoffs for the Colts and Pagnao was able to return for a regular season finale win over the Houston Texans.
Arians continued to credit the veteran leadership around the Colts locker room for not straying the course in delivering a season that will be remembered for years to come around the NFL.
Yes, the highlights on the field were something that even Hollywood could not fathom but it’s the return of a friend that will stay with Arians forever.
“The biggest thing for last year was I watched a dear friend get healthy. Football was a backseat the whole time to watching Chuck fight that fight and win,” Arians said.
“We left that light on (in Pagano’s office) for a reason—to signify the fight that was going on, and we had to fight every single day to extend that season because we were going to play until he came back.”
Tags: bruce arians, chuck pagano
Posted in Colts Blog