Paul Brown Stadium
August 4, 2014
Executive Vice President
* *Brown: "Thank you for coming down today. This is a happy news day for the Bengals. We've reached an extension with Andy for six more years, which will take him through the year 2020. This is important to solidify our franchise going forward. Andy has earned his place here. He has gained the confidence of the players, the coaches and the management of the team. We're betting big on him because we believe in him. We're looking forward to the future with Andy.
"I'll let Marvin have his say and then Andy. I want to add one other thing. Katie (Blackburn) is the one who negotiated this deal, and she worked hard at it. She has been in talks with Andy's representatives for months, and there have been so many backs and forths and ups and downs. I'm proud of the way she brought it to a conclusion, so I want to give her the credit for getting this accomplished."
Lewis: "As Mike has said, Andy has done tremendous things here, and we're excited to continue to move forward. He's had a great start to this camp, and this now puts everything behind him and lets him do one thing, and that's concentrate on winning football games and us getting back and winning this division.
"Andy has in every way met our expectations in this process. You've got to credit both sides. They worked hard to strike this and come to this agreement. I know even though you try not to let it be on the player's mind, it's on the player's mind, so this can be behind him now. I know he's excited to be here and be a part of Cincinnati and a part of the Bengal organization. He's continued to grow into being the starting quarterback and the leader of the offense, and now truly he knows he can be the leader of the football team and continue to take those steps. We're really excited for him to be able to do that."
Dalton: "I'm so thankful to be in this position. It's crazy to think that after my senior year (in college), I had no idea where I was going to end up. To get this opportunity to come to the city of Cincinnati, play for the Bengals, to get drafted here, and now to sign this extension, and be a part of this team for a long time, I'm so blessed and God has given me so much.
"I'm very thankful for Mr. Brown, Katie, everybody that's been involved. There's been a lot of hard work put into this to get the contract done, but also on the field with the teammates that have been a part of this for the last three years that have helped me get to this point.
"I'm really excited about the future and excited about this team that we have--great ownership, great coach and a great team--and I'm looking forward for the next seven years to be a part of this team and to be a part of this city. My wife and I have really made this a home. We've been able to do a lot in the community with our foundation. We're excited to be here for a long time. I couldn't be more thankful and couldn't be more blessed to be in this position."
Blackburn: "I think Andy's agent, Jeff Nalley, did a great job of representing him. We went back and forth an awful lot. We had been consistent in wanting to get it done so that we would be able to focus on football once the season came around. I appreciate all the hard work he has done, and I'm thrilled to have Andy be here for a long time."
Andy, how big of a relief is this for you?
* *Dalton: "Obviously going into this, it wasn't my main focus. When it comes back to time for training camp, there are a lot of other things that I'm worried about. But yeah, you do have it in the back of your mind. When is it going to get done? Where are we at a certain point? Now we don't have to worry about it, and like Marvin said, you just get to play the game. I don't have this hanging over me. It is a relief. There's a lot of hard work that went into it. I'm glad we're to this point, and I'm glad I'm sitting in front of you right now."
Were you ever at the point where you thought you would play it out (with no new contract this season), or did you always think it was going to get done?
* *Dalton: "I always thought it was going to get done. Both sides wanted to get it done. I figured it would get done. It obviously did."
More than any other position in the NFL, at quarterback there's something about intangibles. Where do they rank with you specifically, the leadership question and big-game capability?
* *Dalton: "Obviously it's a big part of it. Obviously the quarterback is the leader of the team. He's the guy that has the ball in his hands at all times. Physically is one thing and mentally is another thing. The intangibles, the leadership, how you get other guys to respond to you, it's all part of it. My goal and my job here is to get 10 other guys on the offense to play better around me and to play to their best potential. Not only offensively, but defensively, too. The defensive guys feed off what we do as well, so I think that's a big part of the position of playing quarterback."
Andrew Whitworth said earlier that it's tough to be a good leader early in your career, because you haven't experienced enough. How has that changed, how have you evolved to become more of that guy?
* *Dalton: "When you come in as a rookie it's easy to say 'Yes, I'm the quarterback, now I'm the leader of this team.' But you're sitting in the huddle with guys that are 34 years old, and that point I was 23. It's different now, because I have played and I have played at a high level. You get credibility with the guys because of the experience that I have and the experience that comes with being in the same system for a certain amount of time. Kind of like what Marvin was saying earlier, I felt like there's been a progression to where I am as the leader on this team, and now I feel like I am the leader of this team."
Marvin, how important is it for you to have that position secure and keep the core together and growing together?
Lewis: "I don't know if it's been dumb luck, but from when I started in this job, I felt it was important that we knew who the quarterback was going to be all the time. We've been consistent with that, and it's played well for us. If you look across the league, there are very few times when you can go in and out of quarterbacks and that team ends up being successful.
"As the guys come into that huddle, they want to know who's leading them. It's our job as coaches to put everybody in the right position, but it takes some of the anxiety out of the way when they know who their quarterback is going to be and who the trigger point is all the time. We've been fortunate with that, Jon (Kitna) the first year, Carson (Palmer) and now Andy."
*Katie, this is kind of a new era of money in the NFL since the last CBA, and quarterback money has grown so huge. What are some of the biggest challenges that were maybe kind of unknowns in getting this done? *Blackburn: "The quarterback position is paid well in the NFL. It was just a lot of going back and forth. There are a lot of deals out there, and a lot of talk about which ones are most relevant and how. But I think we did a lot of good discussions on all the relative points. I think in the end we came up with something we think should work well for both sides and that we should both be happy with."
Can you explain the structure of the contract?
Lewis: "No thank you. No we can't. That's really private to Andy. As Katie said and Andy said, both sides feel good about and we've come to a good agreement."
Andy, how important was it for you to do something that kept the team with some freedom to keep good players around you? Dalton: "When you go into it, you try to find the meeting ground that works for you and the team as well. Like Katie said, we found a good meeting ground, and that's why this thing got done."
Certainly with your position there comes a certain expectation of pressure, so how do you not let this add even more pressure to what you do on the field on Sundays?
Dalton: "I don't think it's really any added pressure, because I expect this team to play better. I expect myself to be better. We have high expectations for what we're trying to do this year, and so regardless of the contract, I would have expected to go into the season with the same mentality and same attitude. We want to be really successful, and we want to win a lot of games, so regardless of the contract getting done, I don't think that mindset or mentality is changing at all."