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Bruce Arians thankful Steelers didn't want him back

INDIANAPOLIS -- With Thanksgiving less than 24 hours away, Indianapolis Colts interim coach Bruce Arians was asked what he's thankful for. He was brutally honest.

"I'm thankful for the Pittsburgh Steelers letting me go to be here," Arians said. "Truthfully. Couldn't think of a better place to be at this point in time. And to have felt more needed, probably, in my entire life.

"So, thank you, Pittsburgh."

Arians wasn't being glib. The end of his five-year run as Steelers offensive coordinator has been a touchy subject. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and the organization announced that Arians would retire in January. He was hired as the Colts' offensive coordinator soon after.

Arians did not want to retire, but he was told his services no longer were needed in Pittsburgh, and his contract was not renewed. New Colts coach Chuck Pagano moved quickly to bring Arians to Indianapolis.

Arians has not elected to talk much about the situation, but it's clear he's happy in Circle City. He's now the acting head coach while Pagano fights a battle with leukemia. Arians always has wanted to sit in the big chair, though not in this way. Arians is coaching the No. 1 pick in Andrew Luck, and the Colts have progressed faster than most expected, earning a 6-4 record and a shot at a playoff berth. The team has formed a unique bond through the emotional experience of supporting Pagano.

No one associated with the Colts will ever forget this season. The circumstances were unfortunate, but the season has featured a life-changing series of events that Arians truly is thankful to be part of.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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