Bengals veterans throw support behind Marvin Lewis

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis continues to refute a national report that he intends to walk away from the team at the end of the season when his contract expires, saying nothing has been decided.

A few of the veteran Bengals players on the roster said they hope that is the case and that there is a chance Lewis will be back for a 16th season in 2018, something they said they would endorse.

“Yeah, I’d love to have Marvin back,” starting offensive lineman Clint Boling said. “But it’s out of my control.”

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The two people who share the control are Lewis and Bengals owner and president Mike Brown.

Lewis is scheduled to hold his season-ending press conference at noon Monday, the day after the team plays its final game of the year at Baltimore, and that’s when its expected the team will announce a mutual parting or another contract extension.

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Defensive end Carlos Dunlap hopes it’s the latter.

“He’s been a great mentor,” Dunlap said. “I would love to see him come back. The decision is his to make.”

George Iloka echoed Dunlap’s comments about what Lewis has meant to him.

“He’s been a wonderful mentor to me, a wonderful head coach to me,” Iloka said. “He always pushed me, always stayed on me. If he doesn’t re-sign, he left this place better than how he found it. Which at the very least, you have to respect that.”

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Quarterback Andy Dalton weighed in as well.

“Marvin has been here for a long time,” he said. “He wanted me here, and I’m very thankful for everything that he’s done for me and my career. Who knows what is going to happen next? Nothing is written in stone.”

Told of the players comments during his weekly press conference, Lewis laughed them off.

“I don’t know why you would talk to them,” Lewis laughed before striking a more serious tone.

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“I appreciate their solace, because otherwise they’re going to have to have change,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

If Sunday is Lewis’ final game as Bengals head coach, it will come where he truly began his ascent to becoming a head coach as the defensive coordinator in Baltimore, leading the Ravens to a championship in Super Bowl XXXV.

Lewis once again showed no interest in discussing the issue when asked how he feels about what he has accomplished in his time as Bengals coach.

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“I’m not going to reflect whether this is my last game or not,” he said before dismissing even the notion that it could be.

“So was last week and the week before that, and back in 2003 after my first game,” he said. “You never know when the last game is. I don’t need to do any reflection.”

On a conference call with Baltimore reporters, Lewis was asked if he gets the sense his players want to send him out on a high note.

“I don’t know where they are sending me to,” he said.

Next game

Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) vs. Baltimore Ravens (9-6)

When: 4:25 p.m. Sunday

Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore

TV: Ch. 7, 12

Radio: 700-AM, 1530-AM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM

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