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Colts' Bruce Arians talks QBs

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bruce Arians is still a Peyton Manning fan. He also believes rookie quarterbacks learn best by taking snaps on Sundays.

It's yet another twist in the Colts' ongoing offseason saga.

The Colts new offensive coordinator told reporters Wednesday that he hopes Manning will return from neck surgery and play in Indianapolis next season. But with the Colts also likely to use the No. 1 overall draft pick on a quarterback of the future, Arians is willing to let the rookie play immediately. He did that in 1998 with Manning.

"It's kind of like deja vu. It's scary," Arians said in a conference call. "There is a new general manager and a new coach. Hopefully Peyton can come back and get ready to go. But, there will be a new quarterback and a new beginning. It's exciting."

Arians has a close relationship with Manning and says the two will talk after the Super Bowl.

"We've talked a bunch of times because we've been good friends," Arians said. "We texted back and forth and his whole family is in town for the Super Bowl. We couldn't get together, but we'll get together as soon as I get back on Monday."

He talked about the growing pains the Colts offense had with Manning in his first year but explained how that experience helped him going forward and how that has impacted his views on playing a rookie quarterback.

"Let him grow. Put him out there and let him play. They are going to make mistakes. You have to live with it and learn from it to get better."

However, Arians said he hopes Manning will play in the NFL next season.

"I hope so because the game will sorely miss a great player. Maybe the best ever," Arians said. "For the game and for him because I know he wants to play. For me, I'm selfish. Yeah, I'd love to see him play. But, if he can't, I want him to do the best for him and his health and future. We'll do what we have to do with hopefully a bright, young player."

Arians acknowledged he didn't leave Pittsburgh the way he wanted though he didn't elaborate on the departure.

"I had a great relationship with the players and I'm going to miss (the Steelers). They are a very young team and I don't think people realize how young they are when you take Hines (Ward) out.

"We didn't have anybody over 30 (years old) out there. Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace developed. Ben (Roethlisberger) is a superstar. I'd like to say I helped him, but the good lord gave him a ton of talent. We had a great relationship and that's going to last forever. I'm going to miss those guys, but I'm looking forward to putting on that blue horseshoe."

As for the Colts' former offensive coordinator, Clyde Christensen, owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday he expects Christensen to remain on new coach Chuck Pagano's staff though it hasn't been determined whether Christensen will coach quarterbacks or receivers. The team plans to interview defensive coordinator candidates Wednesday and Thursday, and Irsay called re-signing defensive end Robert Mathis and receiver Pierre Garcon offseason priorities.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.