By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — In January 2013, Bruce Arians left Halas Hall with a good feeling.
The NFL Coach of the Year in 2012 in an interim stint with the Colts, Arians had interviewed with Bears brass for their head coaching vacancy and believed he did everything to lock down the job. It would eventually go to a surprising pick, Marc Trestman, who was dismissed after two seasons.
“They were the first ones to put paperwork in formation,” Arians said through conference call on Wednesday. “That was the first interview I gave. I felt very comfortable. I thought it was a great organization — Phil (Emery), all the guys there, Mr. (George) McCaskey, they were great. It was a day I thought went very well, and they made a decision. I went on with it.”
Later in January 2013, Arians was hired by Arizona, where he’s compiled a 21-11 record in his first two seasons. The Cardinals topped the Saints in their Week 1 contest and come into Soldier Field on Sunday as favorites over the Bears.
During that interview with the Bears, Arians sat down for an hour with quarterback Jay Cutler and got a sense for his personality.
“A passionate guy that wanted to win,” Arians said of Cutler. “He gets misunderstood a lot — (in) public perception. Sometimes when you care a lot, your body can give different signals. Each person is different. But the guy obviously cares about winning.”
Despite an interview that Arians believed went well, he left Chicago without the job. He wasn’t given reason why the Bears went with Trestman instead, and he was certainly surprised.
“Yeah, I was,” Arians said.
Among the many connections Arians has to the Bears is with their defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, whom he worked with in Indianapolis. Arians touted him as head coaching material.
But Arians is keeping his focus in Arizona, with a team that seemed destined for a deep playoff run last season before quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a season-ending injury midway through the year. The Cardinals will be without running back Andre Ellington against the Bears but boast a deep roster of talent.
Reflecting back on how things went with the Bears, Arians believes it all worked out for the best.
“There’s no doubt,” he said. “Things always do.”
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.