Brown won't step down

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Bengals President Mike Brown, the club's principal owner, said Wednesday he doesn't plan to step down as general manager.

In the midst of withering criticism during the Bengals' seventh double-digit losing record in the last ten seasons, Brown responded to Tuesday's report in the "Dayton Daily News," that he has told friends he's considering retirement.

"I really don't know how (the story) started," Brown said. "It's not well-founded."

Brown said he understands the heat he's getting from all corners, particularly the large number of banners calling for his ouster at last Sunday's game at Paul Brown Stadium.

He even joked that he probably, "unfurled my own banner. It would probably say something like, 'You jerk, how can you be so stupid?'"

But Brown knows losing is a serious matter because he may be looking at the smallest home crowd of the season when the 3-9 Cardinals arrive this Sunday.

"The criticism I get is understandable," Brown said. "People are disappointed. Their patience has been over-tested. I don't fault them for criticizing me. I criticize me, too.

"We have hurt ourselves with the public," Brown said. "When you do that, we pay a price and we know we will."

Brown wouldn't get into specifics about changes for next season, particularly the status of head coach Dick LeBeau. Brown hinted while he would like to keep LeBeau, he's also looking at how the Bengals do the rest of the way in a 2-10 season.

"Dick has done an outstanding job. I'm very pleased with how he's handled himself," said Brown of the man who replaced Bruce Coslet after an 0-3 start.

"He's been good with the players internally. He's been good with the public, the media," Brown said. "I
I can't think of one thing he's done that displeases me. I wish we could win some games. That would help all of us here."

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