Sports Today: Marvin Lewis still wants to coach football edition

  • Marcus Hartman
10:19 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 Sports

The likely last chapter of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Lewis era took another strange turn Monday when he would be interested in returning next season. 

Sort of. 

Lewis is coaching in the final year of his contract for the first time since 2010, and after falling to 5-9 and officially being eliminated from the playoffs with Sunday’s loss, the Bengals will fall short of the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2007-08.

Asked if he wants to be back next year, Lewis said, “I want to coach football.”Asked if he wants to coach football in Cincinnati, he said, “Sure,” before asking the reporter if he was making an offer.

I wasn’t there, but this did not sound too convincing on the radio. 

He was probably just trying to say whatever he had to in order to get the topic out of the way. 

Lewis is definitely a football man first. He doesn’t like to deal with the media, which is his prerogative, and he definitely doesn’t like to talk about things other than football or the present. 

›› Possible candidates to be next Bengals head coach

I believe he wants to keep working in the NFL. I believe he could have already decided he would rather do it somewhere else. 

I also don’t know why the Bengals would have him back. 

This season has obviously spiraled out of control. Even if Lewis came into it on good footing, a change would seem to be in order. 

The way the whole thing was reported is still a little odd to me. 

I don’t doubt the veracity of Adam Schefter’s report. I’m sure he got it from good sources. I just don’t quite understand why anyone who would have this information would be willing to share it at this time. 

Maybe Lewis told the wrong person and that’s how it got out. Maybe he really did want to stick it to the Bengals by quitting before he could be fired, but the way he is acting since the reports was published I tend to doubt that. 

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One of the things I’ve learned about how news breaks is this: A lot of stuff is out there before it’s finished. Before something is finished, there’s always a chance it can change, so publishing it too early brings some risks. 

What is right today could be wrong tomorrow if someone changes their mind. 

Maybe Lewis has made his decision but just doesn’t want to talk about it, or maybe he really told some people he is ready to leave then had second thoughts. 

(Hue Jackson telling reporters in Cleveland, “I’ve kind of known about Marvin,” lends some credence to this.) 

Either way, this was a pretty safe report to file because, again, it’s basically inconceivable Mike Brown is bringing back Lewis no matter what Lewis wants. 

RELATED: How every previous Bengals coaching tenure has ended

There’s going to be a fan mutiny if he’s the coach next year. 

While I defended Lewis for a long time — and still think he’s a good football coach and a fine man — everyone who is ready for something new is now certainly justified. 

I guess the only question now is if Lewis falls into that group, but I also don’t think it really matters in the long run… 

Moving on to teams whose season is not over: The Dayton Flyers have a big game tonight on the West Coast. 

David Jablonski is on the scene and reports this St. Mary’s team is like most — good and heavily Australian. 

» ROAD TRIP: Behind the scenes with the Flyers

The Flyers don’t have much to lose in this game. 

They can pick ups a huge win but strengthened the schedule either way. 

One thing to note for this 10 p.m. tipoff: Since the game is on Fox Sports Ohio, it could run into conflict with the broadcast of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. 

UD sports information reports the game will be live on the FOX Sports Ohio alternate channel if the NBA game is still going at 10. The Dayton game will then carry over to the main channel in progress. It will also be shown on ROOT Sports Northwest and Spectrum Sports Net… 

As Wright State works on trying to reach a new level under Scott Nagy, he’s an indicator he probably has an idea what he’s doing. 

Guard Justin Mitchell agrees an early-season benching has set him on the right path to providing the performances the Raiders need. 

“I think that was a big part (of the problem) with me — focusing on my stats. Me not getting my stats affected my attitude, and that went into me not playing. If I’m not scoring, that’s OK. I just want to win. When I look up at the scoreboard and see we’re winning, that’s a good feeling.”

Meanwhile, he should also benefit from the addition of Cole Gentry, the transfer point guard who became eligible over the weekend. 

The Raiders play Missouri State tonight.. 

Lastly, did you see the news about the possible return of the XFL? 

I don’t know if this is the answer, but the NFL needs a developmental league. 

I’m pretty sure there could be a market for spring football, and I thought the XFL kind of got a raw deal.

It seemed like since ESPN didn’t have a piece of it, they weren’t interested in seeing it succeed (sort of like the NHL now). 

Ratings took a steep decline as the league’s only season progressed, but I’m sure the relentless negative coverage didn’t help it get a foothold. 

The media landscape has changed significantly over the last dozen years. 

While ESPN is still dominant, it’s no longer a monopoly as far as sports content goes.  

Something doesn’t have to do well on broadcast television (or be one an ESPN channel) to succeed anymore, so the XFL 2’s chances would seem to be much better than the original. 

And another professional football league’s presence might tell us a lot about how badly Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL’s leadership are hurting the game in the present.