Lewis plans to talk to Bengals about extension


Marvin Lewis

INDIANAPOLIS — Saying that he and Bengals president Mike Brown are united in the quest to win, head coach Marvin Lewis said Friday he wouldn't mind finishing his career with the Bengals.

After his media availability here at the NFL Scouting Combine, Lewis revealed that Brown has approached him two or three times in an effort to extend a contract that ends after his franchise-longest 10th season in 2012.

"We haven't had the time and opportunity to do it," said Lewis, citing vacations and other commitments. "Hopefully we'll get it resolved.

"I'm not going to coach until I'm 80 years old, so I wouldn't mind that at all," said Lewis, 53, of ending it in Cincinnati. "I enjoy what I do. I like where we live. I enjoy the people I work with day in and day out and I think we're moving in the right direction. I think there's a great commitment to winning and I appreciate that."

Two years ago at the combine Lewis was also working on the last year of his deal and indicated he wanted some assurances from management before signing it. But on Friday he said he and Brown are on the same page after a season the Bengals revamped their roster with youth and secured a Wild Card playoff berth at 9-7.

"That's the thing I don't think enough people around Cincinnati get an appreciation for," Lewis said of Brown, "is how badly the man wants to win and we are united in that."

Lewis is third on the list for most regular-season games coached without a playoff win (144) behind Jim Mora (231) and Norm Van Brocklin (173), and that elusive victory bothers him. When he finishes out this season Lewis will pass Dennis Green as the African-American who has coached the most regular-season games with one club.

"It means a great deal because we know what kind of coach Denny Green was and the success he had in Minnesota," Lewis said. "Taking them to the championship game a few times. Frankly, that's where I'm disappointed. I haven't got us to the championship game. We haven't won a playoff game. We've won the division twice, but haven't won a playoff game. I was hoping we could get beyond that this year."

Lewis is falling back on the club's 31-10 Wild Card loss to the Texans to inspire not only his team.

"Our fans need to understand this is what it's all about. That atmosphere we witnessed in Houston, our fans have to understand this is why you come out to a National Football League game," Lewis said. "Because this is what it's supposed to sound like and this is what it's supposed to feel like. The energy that was in that stadium that day is what we have to get at Paul Brown Stadium each and every Sunday. You can't feel that sitting at home. You have to come out and see that."

Lewis believes the training camp at PBS is going to help by getting the fans get closer to the team.

Lewis also touched on:

Another obstacle: Going to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, which the Bengals didn't do in 2006 and 2010. And he thinks his team is capable because he agrees, "They're not on the banquet circuit … they think they can be better."

Potential trades: Lewis said the possibility of trading down to get more draft picks, particularly at No. 21, is going to get discussed. He said the Bengals didn't trade the 21st pick two years ago because they had eyeballed tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Rob Gronkowski after barely missing out on tight ends in previous drafts, most notably Anthony Fasano in 2006 when the Cowboys took him No. 53. The Bengals did get a future starting left tackle in Andrew Whitworth at No. 55.

Signing a free-agent veteran wide receiver: Because offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and receivers coach James Urban lead a strong meeting room and Pro Bowl rookie A.J. Green has a steady personality, Lewis said he doesn't feel a drastic need to stabilize a young receiving corps with a veteran a la Laveranues Coles.

Signing own free agents: With only 42 players under contract, Lewis says if the Bengals are going to be aggressive in free agency it's going to with their own free agents.

For instance, he said they want to re-sign starting safety Reggie Nelson but he doesn't know if they can. If they don't, he says they have covered themselves with the development of the third-year Taylor Mays and Robert Sands, last year's fifth-round pick.

Putting the franchise tag on a free agent: Lewis said the Bengals could "possibly" tag one of their own and he may be talking about kicker Mike Nugent, which wouldn't be a break-the-bank number. But they would like to get a long-term deal with Nugent before they have to tag him or anybody on March 5.  

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