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If Bruce Arians returns in 2018, he would have plenty to look forward to

Bruce Arians says he's getting tired of people asking him about his future plans. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Bruce Arians made clear Tuesday that his status for next season, one way or the other, isn't a foregone conclusion.

But if the 65-year-old coach decides to continue coaching the Arizona Cardinals next season, he'll have a handful of reasons to keep him excited about coming to the office.

Chief among them is the possibility of working with another young quarterback, like he did in Indianapolis with Peyton Manning in 1998 and Andrew Luck in 2012. It could happen again if the Cardinals draft a quarterback in April.

"That's always been the most exciting thing in coaching for me," Arians said. "I go back to that year with Andrew Luck. It was one of the most fun years, other than Chuck's illness, just fun coaching every day and watching him grow -- same thing with Peyton. It's just fun watching those guys grow."

If Arians, who's under contract through the 2018 season, has only one year with a young quarterback, it'll be enough to teach him what he needs to know.

"I would think so," Arians said. "It's just a matter of if the excitement is there just to continue doing it."

There's also getting to coach David Johnson again.

Arians has worked with the running back as the featured piece of the Cardinals' offense for only one season, and it led to Johnson's topping 2,000 all-purpose yards, becoming an All-Pro and making his first Pro Bowl.

"That's a great one," Arians said. "About 2,000 -- maybe 2,500 -- good reasons."

But the offense isn't the only reason Arians would be excited about coaching next season.

The defense has been ranked No. 1 in yards allowed per game and per play since Week 10.

"Oh god, throw Markus Golden back in the mix, and you get Haason [Reddick] back inside, Budda [Baker]. There's a lot of -- Robert [Nkemdiche], Olsen Pierre -- there's a great young defense, and 'Bettch' [defensive coordinator James Bettcher] has done a great job of getting them playing. And then you add those pieces back, and add maybe some more in the draft, it could be a very dominant defense."

Still, there's more to coaching that would bring Arians back.

He said his health has made a "big difference" in maintaining his passion for coaching this season.

"Having no major things happen this year has been huge," he said.

But what he loves about coaching has nothing to do with what takes place on the field.

"The relationships," Arians said. "The relationship with the players. Building a roster. There really isn't anything I don't like about it."

If Arians does return, he likely won't make any changes to his coaching staff, citing the team's improvement during the second half of this season. But if he loses the excitement of going to work, Arians will know it's time to hang it up.

"I got up at 5 this morning and was excited to get here," Arians said. "So, that hasn't changed."

Still, Arians is growing tired of all the questions about his future. Now, Arians joked, he knows how wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald feels when he's asked about his plans every year.

"I guess Larry's put up with this for eight years," Arians said. "So, I guess I can put up with it for one."

Arians know that the questions won't stop if he, Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer (who also has been asked if he'll play next season) all return in 2018.

"Then you'll just be asking the same questions next year," Arians said. "Yeah, it's kind of par for the course right now."

Arians hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll subject himself to that line of questioning for another year. He'll wait until the season is over and then discuss his decision with his family.

He was asked why he would leave coaching if he still loves it.

"Who says I am? Everybody out of town," Arians said. "Everybody out of town."