What would Andrew Luck tell someone who asked him what kind of head coach Bruce Arians would be?
"Terrible things," Luck told Indianapolis media Wednesday. "Terrible, terrible things."
Then he smiled.
The Colts would hate to lose such a valuable assistant, and Arians is a favorite to win or share coach-of-the-year honors based on his interim work for Indianapolis this season. The Colts were 9-3 while head coach Chuck Pagano was out for leukemia treatment and Arians, the offensive cordinator, was running things at team headquarters in his stead.
Arians said in early December while he thought his age (60) wouldn’t make him especially desirable, that he wants to be an NFL head coach.
I asked him if he expected a team looking for a quarterback-developing head coach to call him, if he’d earned that?
"Well, I don’t know," Arians said. "That’s up to the owners and the general managers at this point to decide what they are looking for. I’m not going to hold my breath at my age and where I am at in my career. I’d love to have the opportunity to talk to one, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m cool with it.”
If one of the teams with an open head-coaching position wants to talk to Arians, they’ll have to ask the Colts for permission. I have not been able to learn if another team has asked for that permission.
If one or more do, I believe the Colts would grant it, as they wouldn’t want to keep Arians against his will and prevent him from a promotion. I’ve seen reports that the Colts have granted permission for vice president of football operations Tom Telesco to talk to San Diego about the franchise's open general-manager job, though I’ve not been able to confirm that myself.
If the Colts said yes to a request on Telesco, they’d surely say yes to one for Arians.
Should the Colts lose Sunday in Baltimore, Arians could then interview for jobs.
Should they win, here’s what the league’s rules on tampering dictate could happen going forward:
“For assistant coaches of clubs that participate in a Wild Card game and advance to the Divisional Playoffs, interviews must be conducted after the Wild Card games and prior to the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games. An inquiring club is permitted only one interview with an assistant coach while his team is competing in the postseason, and there shall be no other direct or indirect contact between any employee or agent of the inquiring club and the assistant coach or any representative or agent of the assistant coach.”
Three other points:
If the Colts advanced to the Super Bowl, they could grant permission for a second interview after the conference championship but no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.
A contract couldn’t be agreed upon until the Colts were finished playing.
If the Colts grant permission to one team, they would have to grant permission to any team that asks. “Permission cannot be granted selectively,” the tampering policy says.