Lewis doesn't go for status quo

1-15-03, 6 a.m. **

New Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis spoke briefly with Geoff Hobson for his first interview on bengals.com shortly after he was introduced as the club's ninth head coach Tuesday night at the club's Senior Bowl headquarters in Point Clear, Ala.: Since he was moving quickly from standups with cameras to sitdowns with coaches, the subjects range from Roberto Clemente's power to his own power in the organization: **


GH:** Mike Brown said you are the new face of the organization. That you are the spokesman for this team and you're going to take it into the future.

ML: That's what I find exciting about this. That's what I felt when I left Tuesday (after the first interview) that they were looking for that. When you aspire to be a head coach in the National Football League, that's what you aspire to be. That kind of presence.

This is what I was trying to tell people in the offseason about minority hiring. I told them that owners are hiring a CEO for their corporation. That is the person, the first person that someone speaks for their team. That's the person they're looking to for direction. That's the person everybody sees and recognizes for their football team for the most part in the NFL.

GH: There had to be people telling you not to take this job. To be patient, and a better one would come open. Don't go to Cincinnati. Was it because it was your only shot this year and you felt you were running out of time? **

ML:No, I had a good job in Washington. This is a good opportunity and their desire to move in that direction, to take the organization into a new day was exciting.

GH:Much was made of Tom Coughlin coming in and demanding a lot of changes. But I think you had to see some changes before you took the job, too.

ML:** I had already presented the plan what I thought was important. I don't know what Coach Coughlin did.

GH: You wanted some assurances things would be done differently? **

ML:** Yes, right. I wanted assurance we could have an opportunity to be successful the way I felt we were going to be successful.

GH: Coaches coach, scouts scout?

ML: Coaches coach, but as a coach you want a role. I've been active in the evaluation of talent. I think it's important that the position coaches have a role and have a voice. But once we make a decision, it's the Bengals' decision and we're going to move forward.

GH: Are you going to add scouts?

ML: That is something Mike will address as we go here. **

GH:** All indications are there will be some movement there.

ML:: Right.

GH: Are you going to keep Bob Bratkowski as offensive coordinator? **

ML:That's something we'll address quickly.

GH:Favorite athlete growing up (in McDonald, Pa.)?

ML:** Roberto Clemente. Just his all-around ability. The way he did things and how he played the game. Such a great athlete. Run. Throw. Catch. Hit.

GH: Role model as a coach? **

ML:** I've had so many. My high school coach just retired this year. I guess I've been fortunate to have so many.

GH: Role model as a person?

ML: I think my father. The way he worked in the steel mill for 28 years.

GH:What did he say when he heard his son was a NFL head coach?

ML: I haven't talked to him yet. My son called him for me.

GH:How old is your son (Marcus)?

ML: He's 12.

GH:How old is your daughter (Whitney)?

ML: 17.

GH What's the first thing your wife (Peggy) said?

ML: If this is what you want, I'm fine. Let's go.

GH:What do you say to guys like Willie Anderson, Takeo Spikes, guys who basically said during the year, we don't believe any more.

ML:I want to hear their thoughts and views, what they think is going to help us and then lets put it together and they can hear my side. I'm not going to bully them. But when we get ready as a team, we've got to get more.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.