Updated: 12:45 p.m.
Lewis is known for running a tough camp and he and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh are known for kiddingly jabbing each other about the workload. But Lewis must have the right idea. The Bengals haven't lost in September since 2004.
"We've got work to do. You don't just come down here and pity-patty around," he said after Monday night's practice. "Football is a physical game for physical tough-minded people and if you're not tough enough to be here, you've got to go someplace else."
A lot of players groused last year when the Bengals went back to Paul Brown Stadium and Lewis still had double sessions. But the players had to hang at their lockers instead of a dorm room. No one quite knows what's going to happen this week because last year's camp had to be shortened because of the preseason schedule. Lewis indicated he's not going to back off and exhibit A are the Saints coming to PBS for two full-padded practices Thursday.
"Players tend to err on the side of being lazy. It's human nature to be lethargic and we have work to do," Lewis said. "If we work efficiently, we'll work less. The less things we have to do over and the more things we do the right way, we end up being on the practice field less."
Now that Lewis has figured out September, his next chore is December. The Bengals have lost their last three games in each of the last two seasons. But he says it's not about easing up. He says he's already done that.
"We can't go down any more what we do late in the season. We need to do it better," Lewis said. "We need to realize at the end of the season the good teams don't practice any less. They practice better. We already practice less, we need to practice better. We need to understand when it's cold, we've got to work in the cold. Don't let the cold affect us, then come back again the next week."
Also Wednesday, wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh was on site but didn't practice.
All appeared fine on the Chad Johnson-Madieu Williams front. They lined up against one another in a one-on-one drill working on releases at the line of scrimmage, and afterward appeared to be talking to each other as they went back to the sideline.
More proof that the Chad-Madieu incident is already in the rear-view mirror: Johnson beat Williams on a deep ball in 11-on-11 drills and Williams tapped him on the back on the way to the goal line. All signs point to more than a couple of competitors letting their competitive juices flow after a long, hot three weeks of training camp.
The smallest crowd of camp (an estimated 450) looked on during the coolest morning of camp. Georgetown athletic director Eric Ward said this year's attendance was off about 3,000 from last year's record 53,000 even though there were three more dates. But Ward said the school is still pleased because the daily numbers weren't that far off despite the heat, gas prices and last year's 8-8 finish.
There is always a bit of festiveness to the last day of camp. Linebacker Earl Everett was apparently one of the hits of Tuesday night's rookie show with a dead-on impersonation of assistant strength coach Ray Oliver and during Wednesday's final practice Chad Johnson and Deltha O'Neal took turns throwing a ball into the stands.
Actually, one fan brought a football and ended up throwing it to Johnson. It was incomplete but Johnson threw it back.
"It's awesome that Chad would do that," said Garrett Scala, a Miami of Ohio sophomore from White Oak in Cincinnati. "Everybody was yelling, 'Chad, Chad.' I showed him some respect and called him Mr. Johnson. My one chance to complete a pass to Chad Johnson and I overthrew him, but that's OK."
NO MORE RUNNING: Virgil Carter, one of the first Bengals quarterbacks, surfaced at camp Wednesday with his son and grandson. Carter, who lives in the Southern California desert on the way to Vegas, was happy to be reminded about the 1970 game in which he quarterbacked Paul Brown's first victory over the Browns in the 14-10 victory at Riverfront in which he became the only Bengals quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game.
"They don't draft them to run any more," said Carter, who still gets a bit of the willies when it comes to his 73-yard run in that game. "It was a called roll-out play and we blocked it. At the end of it, the ball got knocked out and I lost it. I said I was down by contact, but I lost it. That was at the end of the half, too. If we had lost the game I wouldn't have wanted to go into film study on Monday."
Carter, 61, who has been writing malpractice insurance for chiropractors for the past 22 years, plays a lot of golf and plays to a 9 handicap.
"If I'm beating my wife at golf, I'm playing well because she plays a lot of it," he said.
FAMILIAR FACE: Former Bengals linebacker Brian Simmons, who started 116 games and a playoff game in Cincinnati, comes back for Thursday's joint practice with the Saints. His bid to be the starting middle linebacker has been slowed by a procedure that took out some knee cartilage in late January.
"My concern is just getting better," Simmons told the New Orleans Times-Picayune earlier this week. "I've been playing this game for a long time, so I'm not going to get worked up about not running with the ones right now. My goal is when we start the regular season to be running with the ones.
"And that's all I can do is go out there and focus that way and practice and play that way, and the coaches are going to make whatever decision they want to make."
Simmons, who had three tackles against the Bills on Friday, always chooses his words carefully. So it's pretty clear how he still feels about his release from the Bengals back in February when asked about coming back to PBS.
"This is my team now, the New Orleans Saints," Simmons said. "My thoughts are with this team and this organization."