Bears to talk to Pete Carmichael Jr.

The Chicago Bears will interview New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and have asked for permission to speak with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians for their vacant coaching position, according to multiple reports.

Carmichael will interview with the Bears on Thursday, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. ProFootballTalk.com first reported the interview would take place.

Carmichael, 41, has served as New Orleans' offensive coordinator since 2009, but his contract was allowed to expire after this season, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

With Saints coach Sean Payton suspended as a result of the bounty scandal, Carmichael assumed play-calling duties this season, helping to direct an offense that averaged 410.9 yards per game, the second-best mark in the NFL.

Arians led the Colts to a 9-3 record as interim head coach in place of Chuck Pagano, who was receiving treatment for leukemia. He has groomed Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck early in their careers.

NFL.com reported the Bears are the first team to request permission to interview Arians.

The 60-year-old Arians said in December that he wasn't sure if he would get a chance to be a head coach in the NFL.

"Well I don't know," Arians said on Dec. 5 "That's up to the owners and the general managers at this point to decide what they are looking for. I'm not going to hold my breath at my age and where I am at in my career. I'd love to have the opportunity to talk to one, but if it doesn't happen, I'm cool with it."

Asked Wednesday what he would say about Arians to teams interested in talking to his offensive coordinator, Luck joked: "Terrible things. Terrible, terrible things."

Arians is in his first season with the Colts after eight years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including five as offensive coordinator from 2007-11. In 2009 the Steelers became the first team in history to have a 4,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season.

Bears tight end Matt Spaeth played four seasons under Arians in Pittsburgh and wondered if his former coach would ever get the chance to lead a team full time.

"I have to be honest, I've been kind of sitting around waiting to see when teams were going to start trying to interview Bruce," Spaeth told ESPNChicago.com. "I really like him as a coach, and obviously as a guy. If you look at his journey, success seems to follow him. I can tell you that when Pittsburgh got rid of him, nobody was happy in that locker room, especially Ben (Roethlisberger). Ben has a lot of pull around there and he was upset. People were mad because of the job Bruce does.

"Just look at this year in Indianapolis and the tough situation he was placed in going from coordinator to interim head coach. He did a great job. And he seemed like the right coach for Andrew Luck. If you read or watched Luck's interviews this year, it was B.A. this, or B.A. that ... players respect the guy and they play for him."

The Bears are seeking a replacement for Lovie Smith, who was fired Monday after nine seasons in Chicago.

ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.