Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has two games left on his current contract. No meaningful negotiations have occurred regarding a possible extension.
So does Lewis think his time with the team is ending?
“I don’t think so,” Lewis said Friday, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “That’s not the plan.”
So what is the plan?
“My plan is to beat the San Diego Chargers and beyond that time will take care of itself,” Lewis said. “Our team has hung in there, kept playing and kept practicing and preparing.”
Um, that doesn’t sound like much of a plan.
Our guess is that Lewis, the Associated Press coach of the year in 2009, would like to stay and that owner Mike Brown probably would like to keep Lewis, at a reduced price. And so the duo potentially will be playing a game of contract chicken over the next few weeks, with Brown risking that Lewis will get an opportunity elsewhere, and Lewis risking that Brown will find someone else who’ll take a lot less than whatever Brown offers Lewis to stick around.
Sticking points beyond money are believed to be the absence of an indoor practice facility.
If Lewis stays, there will nevertheless be plenty of changes in Cincinnati, with or without an indoor practice facility. Among other things, the relationship between Lewis and receiver Chad Ochocinco has been strained of late, with Lewis uncharacteristically (but finally) calling Chad out for being “mopey” when things don’t go well. Lewis took a more veiled shot at Ochocinco in Friday.
“It’s a one-year proposition,” Lewis said of his team’s fortunes in 2010. “From the onset I said we had work to do. Unfortunately the perception is you pick up from where you left off. It’s not done talking or tweeting about it. We didn’t change as a football team. We didn’t get it done as well as we did a year ago.”
In the end, whether Brown applies a one-year focus to this year or to last year will go a long way toward determining whether for Lewis there will be a next year in Cincinnati.