Pair of Cincinnati Bengals greats weigh in on Marvin Lewis returning as coach

This got lost in the Super Bowl shuffle of news last weekend, but it’s worth a second look. 

While Marvin Lewis’ return to the Cincinnati Bengals as coach caused a lot of head-scratching locally and nationally, two famous former Bengals in the media told the team website they approve. 

RELATED: What are the Bengals’ Super Bowl odds for next season?

Both Cris Collinsworth and Boomer Esiason seem to think the team is not far from returning to contender status despite back-to-back losing seasons and Lewis is the man to take the team to the top. 

“I absolutely would have brought back Marvin,” Collinsworth said. “Tell me who you’re going to replace him with. Were they going to hire Josh McDaniels or Matt Patricia? I’m old enough to remember when the Bengals couldn’t get out of their own way for a decade. And they bring this guy in and they go to the playoffs five straight years? No brainer.” 

He went on to point out change is not always for the better. 

“They played well at the end of the season. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is change. Look at the franchises that change everything. Give it a chance.”

Esiason also endorsed the move, though it sounds like he was surprised Lewis is back. 

“I thought Marvin was going to hang it up. I thought it was his choice,” said Esiason, who phoned Lewis to congratulate him after the deal was done and sensed how the tide had turned.

“I think he was re-energized by those last two games and they really should have beaten the Steelers in that Monday night game. And the fact they brought in Teryl Austin is a great move. Not that Paul Guenther wasn’t great, but Teryl Austin brings a fresh set of eyes, a new voice and a real aggressive style. He’s an aggressive defensive coordinator. Watch him in practice. I think you’ll enjoy it.”

Of course the fact the team owns the place these quotes were published probably means something, but there’s not much reason to doubt their sincerity, either. 

Collinsworth and Esiason are savvy media members, and both could have declined comment without anyone ever knowing. 

Instead, they spoke rather decisively in Lewis’ favor. 

Their opinions offer no guarantee it is going to work out, but they are interesting nonetheless considering both are very familiar with an organization that tends to do business differently than most. 

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