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Bears broaden coaching search

Add Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to the list of candidates for the Bears' head coaching vacancy.

The Bears were the first team to ask the Colts for permission to interview Arians, the NFL Network reported Thursday. After an 11-win regular season, Arians and the Colts are busy preparing for their first-round playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon.

Arians proved that he could lead a team to the playoffs this season as the interim head coach in place of Chuck Pagano, who spent most of the season battling leukemia. Pagano returned to the Colts last week and will be on the sidelines this weekend against the Ravens.

Of seven candidates to be linked to the Bears' job opening, Arians is one of the most experienced. He started his coaching career in 1975 as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech, and he has enjoyed coaching stints in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Colts.

Arians has helped to develop young quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck during his coaching career. He also is credited with developing wide receiver Hines Ward, who became the Steelers' all-time leading receiver and Super Bowl XL MVP.

Besides Arians, six other candidates whose names have surfaced for the Bears' opening include Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, Falcons special-teams coach Keith Armstrong and Cowboys special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis.

-Tom Musick

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