The Bears' search for Lovie Smith's successor is tilting heavily toward offense, at least in the early going.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Bears on Thursday were the first team to request an interview with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians about a head-coaching position, and they have been granted permission.
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Arians, 60, took over as the Colts' interim head coach for 12 weeks this season and led them to the playoffs after head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and took a leave of absence to undergo treatment.
The Colts, who were 2-14 last season and started rookie Andrew Luck at quarterback all season, went 9-3 under Arians. They finished 10th in the league in offense.
Pagano is back now, but he recently went on record as saying, "We don't want to lose Bruce. We can't lose Bruce."
The San Diego Chargers also are reportedly interested in Arians, although the Colts are expected to do everything they can to keep him in Indianapolis. He previously was offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns.
Meanwhile, former Bears coach Lovie Smith has an interview scheduled in Buffalo this weekend, where the Bills are looking for the successor to fired Chan Gailey. The Bills have not won more than seven games in any of the past eight seasons.
That would be Smith's first interview since he was fired by the Bears on Monday, but at least two other NFL teams reportedly are interested. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Smith also has an interview scheduled with the Chargers, who parted ways with Norv Turner on Monday.
Bears general manager Phil Emery has or will interview four other NFL offensive coordinators in addition to Arians, including the Denver's Mike McCoy (this weekend), Tampa Bay's Mike Sullivan, New Orleans' Pete Carmichael (Thursday) and Green Bay's Tom Clements.
The Bears were 28th offensively this season under coordinator Mike Tice and 29th in passing.
Emery already has interviewed Atlanta Falcons special-teams coach Keith Armstrong and is scheduled to talk with Dallas Cowboys special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis this weekend.