Following a 17-minute press conference that featured 40 questions but few answers, Marvin Lewis’ future with the Cincinnati Bengals can be best summed by the phrase he’s had leaned on so frequently in the past:
Lewis, who completed the final season of his contract with Sunday’s 31-27 victory at Baltimore, confirmed he met with team owner and president Mike Brown on Monday morning but the two did not come to an agreement on whether there will be a new contract or a parting of ways.
“I wish I could give you more news, but I can’t,” Lewis said early in the press conference, which began more than 30 minutes after its schedule starting time, resulting in some speculation a contract was pending.
But Lewis said not only was that not the case, but a new contract was not even discussed.
“We haven’t talked about a deal or anything that way,” he said. “We’re just talking about the football team. We discussed the football team this morning. We didn’t talk about Marvin or anything else other than the football team, just what my viewpoints were.”
Neither Brown nor any other member of the front office was present for the press conference, leaving Lewis to try to explain the situation. He spoke mostly in vagueries and seemed uncomfortable at times and amused at others.
Asked if there was a path for him to return as head coach in 2018, he said, “I think so” before stumbling over what he wanted to stay next.
“But again, again, you know, again, we’re, again, I probably … the less said the better,” Lewis said. “It’s time to cut this off.”
That was 14 minutes in, but Lewis remained at the dais and continued to take questions, seven of which came after Director of Communications Emily Parker gave the call for “one more question.”
The first was whether Lewis was interested in seeing what other jobs are out there, including head coach openings with Arizona, Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland and the New York Giants.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” he said.
Lewis also said there was no offer on the table to move into a role with the organization other than head coach.
“I don’t know where these thoughts come from that people make up,” he said.
And he continued to push back on the Adam Schefter report that broke hours before the team’s game in Minnesota which said Lewis intended to step away from the team at the end of the season.
“It just wasn’t fair,” Lewis said. “I just didn’t think it was the right time and so forth. As I’ve told people all along, there was nothing to be said. I’m sitting here today in front of you and I don’t know what there is to be said. So I certainly didn’t know what was to be said three weeks ago.”
Lewis isn’t the only member of the coaching staff with an uncertain future as the contracts of all of the assistants also are expiring.
“I spoke with them this morning and I told them that as far as from my direction I would get them an answer where things are quick as I could,” Lewis said. “It’s unfortunate that they’re stuck in this limbo right now that way. They’re aware of it and so forth so that also makes an urgency for both parties that way, because they’re basically free agents as well.
“I don’t think it will draw on too long.” he said.
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After talking about his message to the assistants, Lewis was asked what his message to the fans is.
‘Well, I think if you’re a real fan then you stay the course and understand we’re not happy with what transpired this season and we’re going to do everything,” he said. “If I’m here, I’m going to do everything in my power to get us to be world champions. That’s what my job is, and nothing short of that is acceptable and that’s the way it is in my mind. That’s why I do what I do.”
The Marvin Lewis File
Division Titles: 4
Playoff seasons: 7
Postseason record: 0-7