Lewis remembers Arnie: 'He made it real'

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Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis paused amid the chaos of a NFL short week to remember his fellow Pittsburgh-area native Arnold Palmer.

One good way to get Lewis talking about his closet passion of golf is to ask him about the auction item he won a few years back, when he jetted a few of his friends to Latrobe, Pa., for a round with "The King."

"Awesome experience," Lewis said after hearing of Palmer's death Sunday. "Spent the day with him. To meet him and to actually have the chance to walk with him through his museum and his office, it was awesome."

For Lewis, The Tour remains a vivid play-by-play, beginning with the trophy from Palmer's first PGA victory, the 1955 Canadian Open. And Palmer mixed in enough that he let Lewis know he was aware of his NFL career, another endless example of Palmer's easy, ever-present eye contact that helped take golf from the country clubs to the rest of the country.

"That's very legitimate. He made it real for people because he was such a people person," Lewis said. "His rivalry with (Jack) Nicklaus was incredible. He walked me through everything. The winnings. His collection of putters. His airplanes. We even talked about his drink. We went over to the club and had lunch with his brother and his cronies and really had a good time."

There would be no golf, though. It was raining.

 "You guys can still play, but I'm going to be in here," Palmer told Lewis. "Come see me in Bay Hill. The weather is better."

They never took him up on it. No reason. They already had a walk with "The King."

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