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Bruce Arians retires after five seasons with Cardinals

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The brilliant and unusual career of Bruce Arians has come to an end.

The Arizona Cardinals coach announced his retirement from coaching during a tearful, emotional news conference Monday.

"The tears you see are really tears of joy, peace," Arians said. "I'll miss the players. I'll miss coming out of the locker room, hearing the national anthem because it still gets me ...

"I probably truly didn't know until that kick [Sunday] went through that I was going to retire. I know everybody speculated for months ... you now have the story. Like I said, it's been an unbelievable journey."

Fresh off a disappointing, injury-riddled campaign in Arizona, Arians leaves the team with a 49-30-1 mark after a five-year run that included a pair of playoff appearances. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Cardinals have put in a request to interview Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur for their coaching vacancy.

Beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant with Virginia Tech in 1975, the 65-year-old Arians steadily evolved into one of pro football's finest play-callers during coordinator stints with the Browns (2001-2003), Steelers (2004-2011) and Colts (2012).

Along the way, Arians made his mark as a proven quarterback whisperer, tutoring a wide array of signal-callers from Tim Couch to Ben Roethlisberger to Andrew Luck to Carson Palmer. Everywhere he went, his students improved by leaps and bounds.

Waiting longer than most for a head-coaching opportunity, Arians turned heads in 2012 when he stepped in for ailing Colts coach Chuck Pagano, guiding the team to nine wins and three losses and earning Coach of the Year honors. Two years later, Arians nabbed that award again in Arizona.

A viable, exciting Super Bowl contender as recently as 2015, the Cardinals fell off over the past two season, battling injuries and struggling to match the feats of their once explosive offense.

This year's roster was ravaged by injury, leaving Arians to compete without Palmer, star running back David Johnson and a flood of supporting characters including Adrian Peterson, John Brown, Robert Nkemdiche, Deone Bucannon and Markus Golden.

A fountain of wit and pro-football knowledge, Arians battled health issues over the past two seasons, a factor that clearly played into his decision to walk away.

He was always more than just a coach. In a league where coach-speak dominates, Arians was a comprehensive breath of fresh air. Unafraid to drop verbal bombs and sailor's language on reporters, he also rivaled Bill Belichick when it came to espousing knowledge on the game we love.

The Cardinals will miss Arians -- and so will we.

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