Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said after Sunday's 13-7 loss in the regular season finale that he doesn't know anything about his future.
"All I know is that after today I'm officially unemployed," he said. "I don't know what's ahead for me. What I do know is that we've got guys that fought their tails off. That's a group in that locker room that has figured out what it takes to win. They've got the pathway. They know what it takes."
Lewis is set to meet with Bengals president Mike Brown on Monday. It is believed that Brown is thinking of asking Lewis back, but it's also believed that Lewis would like some changes. He wouldn't be specific, but he said an indoor facility is not an obstacle. He said that Brown realizes with the advent of an 18-game schedule there will have to be a new facility.
But that is as specific as Lewis got in his postgame press conference. On Friday, Lewis said he was at a "starting over point." He reiterated that on Sunday.
"In my coaching career, I'm at a different point than I was eight years ago," Lewis said. "This team is in a good place, and that's a good thing."
MORE LEWIS: Asked after the game if he would like to come back to Cincinnati, Lewis said "yes."
"We sit down, we talk and we all agree," he said of what it would take for him to come back.
He also said he had no comment when asked about a report that said he was on the short list at his hometown University of Pittsburgh, where he was an assistant in 1991.
Asked if it would take money or facilities, he said, "As my boss says, I've probably said too much."
What could be in play is the staffing on the coaching and personnel level.
When asked for his favorite moment in Cincinnati he cited the the victory over the 9-0 Chiefs on Nov. 16, 2003.
"They were undefeated; we were about defeated," Lewis said of his team that went in 4-5. "It was a turning point of the belief if we play physical football and make plays to win games, and not worry about all the other things going on around you."
Lewis's players said they noticed no difference in him after the game.
"Coach Lewis is always emotional. He was emotional at halftime," right guard Bobbie Williams said.
Linebacker Brandon Johnson, one of 13 players scheduled to be free agents, is uncertain.
"I don't know. It's not my business. I'm a hired hand," Johnson said.
Quarterback Carson Palmer, Lewis's first draft choice in 2003, is also playing it by ear.
"I've seen a lot of crazy things in this league," Palmer said. "He's a great coach. I don't know what's going to happen. That whole locker room will be anxious to find out what happens. Because there's been this thing looming for awhile now. Us players get these questions all the time. Since the beginning of the season we've been starting to get those questions. So it's an unanswered question that hangs over your head and I'm sure it hangs over Coach's head. Heavily."
PALMER CAUTIOUS:Palmer has had a long, hard season, symbolic of setting the team record with 586 pass attempts. He wasn't ready to embrace anything. Change or status quo. And even though his deal runs through 2014, it sounded like he needs some convincing.
"I don't have any control over that," Palmer said of where he is next year. "You don't pick where you want to go. It's not like coming out of high school and going to college. I have no idea. We have our exit meetings tomorrow and then I'm going to go home. Then I'll just kind of look back, get the film, look back at the season as a whole, and figure out what's what."
SLANTS AND SCREENS
»Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson was one reception shy of tying the Bengals single-game record of 13 by Carl Pickens. The last Bengals receiver to have 12 in a game was Chad Ochocinco on Nov. 25, 2007 in a 35-6 win over Tennessee.
"I give two of them back if I didn't fumble," Simpson said. "I want to apologize to my teammates and the city. I wanted to come back and make a play to make up for it. I wanted to get into that end zone."
Simpson scored on an 11-yard pass with 12:24 left in the game that cut Baltimore's lead to 13-7. He ran a fade in the right corner and beat cornerback Lardarius Webb. It was his third touchdown in the last two games.
"Yes, that was the 'Rome Zone," Simpson said.
» Palmer on the fourth-quarter scramble in which he fumbled:"I was getting ready to dive to get to the marker. It slipped right out of my hands. It was a bad play on my part."
» Palmer on the third-down fade to Andre Caldwell on third and two from the Baltimore 3 on Cincinnati's final drive:"It looked like I threw it too long. The DB did a good job turning his hips to the fade and getting his hands on him and knocking him off his route."
On the fourth-down play, Palmer said the Ravens brought eight defenders as the Bengals sent three receivers to the right.
"I thought we'd get (Jordan Shipley) coming back inside but we didn't," Palmer said. "Out of the corner of my eye I saw Cedric (Peerman) on the left side but (a Ravens defender) got a piece of me as I threw it."
» Palmer finished the season with 586 pass attempts, the most ever in a single season by a Bengals quaterback, breaking the previous mark of 581 by Jon Kitna in 2001.
» Caldwell finished with career highs of seven receptions for 94 yards.
» Tight end Chase Coffman caught the first three passes of his career for 30 yards.
» With 9.5 sacks and 1.5 on Sunday, rookiedefensive end Carlos Dunlap finished .5 out of a tie for the NFL rookie lead won by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
» The Bengals have secured the fourth pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Cincinnati finished 4-12 as did Denver and Buffalo. The Broncos were awarded the No. 2 pick based on lowest strength of schedule. Accordingly, the Bills get the No. 3 pick while the Bengals will pick fourth.