Having been with the Cincinnati Bengals since the 2003 season, Marvin Lewis is the longest-tenured head coach in franchise history. But after leading the Bengals to the playoffs for five consecutive seasons, winning 10 games or more in four of them, Lewis’ team suffered a letdown of sorts in 2016 as it finished with a 6-9-1 record. Looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2016, Lewis is also in the final season of his contract.
While that would a concern for some coaches, that’s not the case for Lewis, according to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell.
“That doesn’t affect anything,” Lewis told ESPN. “I’ve coached here for 15 seasons. … The relationship you have with the team and the organization is a two-way street. That’s been the thing, I’ve been the one to not want to move a lot. That’s not been a big deal to me. Because we’ve been able to build something.
“… [Owner Mike Brown] and I have a great working relationship. Sometimes you don’t want to start that over again, but sometimes you need to. And I’m prepared to do that. It doesn’t affect me one way or another.”
Lewis, who led the Bengals to 8-8 records in each of his first two seasons with the franchise, has finished at or above .500 in 10 of his 14 seasons as head coach. But the improved fortunes have not carried over into the postseason, as the Bengals are 0-7 in playoff games under Lewis’ watch. The franchise has not won a playoff game since 1990.
Given the long-standing relationship between Lewis and owner Mike Brown, the contract status may not be a major concern for any of the involved parties. But it does make for an interesting subplot as the start of the regular season approaches.