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Chuck Pagano says he's forever in debt to Bruce Arians

As the Indianapolis Colts continued to win without coach Chuck Pagano, it became clear that interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians would be one of the top candidates for a job after the season. The Cardinals hired Arians on Thursday night.

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The Colts have had nothing but praise for Arians and that continued Friday.

"We congratulate Bruce on this great opportunity with the Arizona Cardinals," general manager Ryan Grigson wrote in a statement released by the team. "The exceptional job he did this past season in keeping this team focused, combined with his long record of accomplishment, made him a very attractive candidate for a head coaching position and we congratulate the Cardinals on their good judgment in selecting him.

"BA did a remarkable job last season, filling in for his friend and head coach in a time of need. Without BA's selflessness, leadership, football acumen, and competitive spirit, we couldn't have had the season we did. We surely will miss BA's presence as a coach and a friend but we're delighted for him and we wish Bruce, Chris and their entire family nothing but the best as they embark on their new journey."

Pagano echoed those sentiments.

"We are excited for Bruce, Chris and his entire family," Pagano said in a statement. "This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I know he will do a great job. Arizona hired a great coach but a better man. What he did in my absence was truly remarkable. I am forever in debt to Bruce. He is and always will be a great friend and I wish him nothing but the best as he begins this new chapter in his life."

The 2012 season was truly unique for everyone involved with the Colts. Those within the organization formed a bond that went beyond football. It's kind of strange that Pagano and Arians only coached five games together even though they talked daily throughout Pagano's treatment.

They'll honestly miss him in Indy.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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