New Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Wednesday he hopes Peyton Manning returns to the Colts, though he also said he believes the best way for a rookie quarterback to learn is by playing. He didn't drop hints about the Colts' plans for Manning or what Indy would do with the No. 1 overall draft pick.
Team owner Jim Irsay has already said the Colts will choose Manning's successor in April. The decision is expected to come down to presumed No. 1 choice Andrew Luck or Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, either of whom would get playing time if Arians had a say.
"I say let him grow, man, put him out there and let him play," Arians said of how to handle a young quarterback. "They are going to make mistakes. You have to live with it and learn from it to get better."
Arians was the first NFL quarterbacks coach to work with Manning, the No. 1 choice in 1998. He also tutored former No. 1 pick Tim Couch in Cleveland and Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh during the last five seasons.
"It's kind of like deja vu (in Indy). It's scary," he said. "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."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.