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Lewis signs one-year extension


After staying at his desk in the Wild Card wee hours after it was all over, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis apparently has plenty left.

The Bengals and their long-time head coach have agreed to a one-year extension that would take him through a 15th season. Bengals president Mike Brown indicated two weeks ago at the league meetings that he was working to lock up Lewis and apparently did it early last week.

Indications are that Brown and Lewis kept talking after they got back from Florida  as Lewis prepares to welcome his team for his 14th off-season workouts. It's a move that had been expected in the wake of the club's fifth straight trip to the postseason.

If Lewis completes the deal, he'll become just the 13th coach in pro football history to coach at least 15 straight seasons with the same franchise. The list is led by George Halas' record 40 seasons with the Bears and includes Bengals founder Paul Brown's 17 seasons in Cleveland and the 15 years of Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, the man that brought Lewis into the NFL as his linebackers coach in 1992. "I commend Marvin's achievements," Mike Brown said the day the meetings ended in Boca Raton, Fla. "He's done remarkably well with our football team in recent years especially. I respect him. I like him personally."      

When Lewis met the national media in Boca during the meetings, he began a campaign he'll take to his players April 18 when they gather for the first time since the improbable Wild Card loss to the Steelers when they lost the ball and the lead in the final 1:23 of an 18-16 game.

Lewis admitted the loss, which dropped his post-season record to 0-7, impacted him enough that he had trouble leaving the office that night. But he says he has left it there and he's telling his players and everyone else they have to as well.

"The challenge is to start fresh. The only hangover is with you guys who keep repeating the same questions," Lewis told reporters.  "There's a new challenge ahead.

"It's preparing for this season and whoever the schedule says we open up with. That's the thing. We're going to play the NFC East and the AFC East and our division. So we know there are big, huge challenges ahead. As well as the Denver Broncos, who were world champions. And whoever else we play that won their division, the Houston Texans. We've got big challenges ahead."

Lewis, 57, is the second longest tenured coach in the NFL next to Bill Belichick, heading into his 18th season in New England. He's coached 215 Bengals games, 83 more than runner-up Sam Wyche on the Bengals' all-time list and 100 more than Paul Brown.

Lewis' .521 winning percentage (112-101-2) is third on the list behind Forrest Gregg's .557 and Bill Johnson's .545, but he's currently overseeing the best five-year stretch in franchise history with four straight double-digit win seasons, two division titles, and a record of 52-32-1.


Bengals Preseason Schedule: Wk 1 - Minnesota Vikings Wk 2 - @ Detroit Lions Wk 3 - @ Jacksonville Jaguars Wk 4 - Indianapolis Colts

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