Bengals coach Lewis says he’s not concerned about contract extension

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Marvin talks about exit meetings with players

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis addressed the issue of retirement last week, refuting a report by former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley by saying he was coming back in 2017.

And by not making an announcement Monday, team president and owner Mike Brown appears to have answered whether Lewis will be allowed to return for the final year of his contract after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

So the only remaining question is whether Lewis will get another contract extension.

“Mike and I have not talked since Friday about my future,” Lewis said Monday afternoon during a wide-ranging, 30-minute, year-end press conference. “I’ve gone into the last year before and everything has worked out fine. We’ll see what happens this year. I expect it will be fine. Either way, one way or another, I’m not concerned about that. My biggest concern is me taking care of the football team.”

The last time Lewis entered a season in the last year of his contract was 2010. The Bengals went 4-12, and two days after a season ending 13-7 loss to the Ravens Brown and Lewis held an awkward, contentious press conference to announce a two-year extension.

Heading into the final year of that deal, Lewis said a two-year extension in July 2012, taking him through the 2014 season.

He signed a one-year extension March 2014, followed by one-year extensions in April 2015 and April 2016.

Asked how long he wants to continue to coach, Lewis circled back to last week to take a shot at the report that said he was retiring.

“I haven’t thought about how long I see myself going,” he said. “Maybe you should ask Chris Cooley.”

Whether Lewis brings back his entire staff remains to be seen. He declined to address the issue, saying “it’s never something I would talk about in (a press conference).”

With the Bengals eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago, Lewis began the process of conducting exit meetings with some players prior to Sunday’s finale.

Those meetings wrapped up Monday, and next up are sit-downs with the assistant coaches.

“We’re not scoring in the second half,” he said. “Those are things we’ve got to figure out why. We didn’t win the fourth quarter yesterday in a game that we played pretty well in it for most of it, but it was 7-7 in the fourth quarter and it’s frustrating. It’s not like we’re getting stonewalled, but we’re not finishing the execution of things.”

Lewis scoffed at the notion the coaching staff needs to do a better job with second-half adjustments.

“If an offensive coordinator repeated a play, we would come in and pay him anyway,” Lewis said. “We have yet to see one of those guys repeat a play. So the adjustment, that’s more journalism jargon than truth. May be a mental thing, may be a repetition thing, a confidence thing, a poise thing, time on task thing. It’s all those things, really, is what it is.”

He went on to call 2016 a “Ripley’s season,” as in believe it or not.

“We just went through a whole season where we didn’t have a return against us for a touchdown,” he said. “That’s hard to do and not be a winning team. The things we did, we had some Ripley’s where you can’t believe these things occurred and we are where we are, but we are. And unfortunately, we earned it. 

“It just drives you to be better,” he added. “I mean, it’s a competitive thing. Now we’re in the competitive thing to be better and we’re getting a head start on 12 of the 32 (teams still alive in the playoffs). The other 20 are going with us. and we’re all trying to get to the end next year. That’s what we have to do.”

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