Despite reports that Marvin Lewis will retire, resign or be fired at the end of the season, expect the Cincinnati head coach to be back with the Bengals in 2017. That’s the word coming from the Queen City, anyway.
“Marvin Lewis has made it pretty clear in the last couple weeks that he’s still got a little something left in the tank, and in terms of retiring or resigning, that’s just not in the cards,” Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals beat writer Jim Owczarski said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “At the very start of this season, we asked Mike Brown, ‘Why is Marvin Lewis back?’ And this was, of course, coming off the fifth straight playoff loss – seventh overall – and the meltdown at the end of that AFC Wild Card game earlier this year. And Mike turned the question around on us and he said, ‘Why would I fire him?’”
Lewis is 117-103 in 14 seasons in Cincy. He’s also led the Bengals to the playoffs in six of the last eight seasons.
“Mike Brown’s got a long memory,” Owczarski said. “He remembers his team winning, what, 30 games in the whole decade of the ’90s? He sees what Marvin Lewis has done with this organization in terms of its stability, sort of flipping that culture of not just losing, but Bengals players off the field – you don’t really hear of them too often anymore. It’s been a long time since you could associate such things with Cincinnati. And the way Mike Brown sort of looked at things was, ‘You need to get to the playoffs, and then at some point, some players need to make a play. And if you continue to bite at that apple, eventually you’re going to get down to the core.’ That was sort of his thought, that Marvin Lewis is that guy to get them there.”
The Bengals, however, have been held to 17 points or fewer in all seven of Lewis’ playoff losses and have averaged just 12.9 points in those games. A five-win campaign in 2016 – with two of those wins coming against Cleveland – doesn’t exactly help Lewis’ cause, either.
“We have to leave (open) that possibility (of him getting fired),” Owczarski said. “The year’s not over yet. But (Marvin) likes Mike Brown. They have a very unique relationship. It’s not like anywhere else in this league. Marvin Lewis has been here 14 years without a playoff win. That says enough about how unique it is compared to the rest of this league. They like each other, they have a good working relationship, and frankly, up until his year, they’ve won a lot of games since 2011.”
The Bengals close the season at home against Baltimore (8-7) this Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.