One year after two late wins against Detroit and Baltimore went a long way to sway Bengals owner Mike Brown to retain Marvin Lewis for a 16th season, it would be hard to see a premature move before the traditional meeting between the two the day after the season ends.
Lewis said on Monday he has been given no assurances that the team would wait until the end of the year, Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
“No, and I wouldn’t expect any or ask for any,” Lewis said. “The least of my worries.”
When Lewis was asked if he wants to coach next season, he merely stated, “my job is to coach the football team.”
Last year, Brown admitted after retaining Lewis his preference to letting the season conclude.
“I chose not to make a decision on what we were going to do going forward until all the evidence had been submitted,” Brown told The Enquirer in January. “And that meant playing through the full season and not making a call prematurely.”
Four weeks of evidence remain, starting with a game at the streaking Los Angeles Chargers (9-3) this Sunday. Technically, the Bengals (5-7) have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs though their chances of making it are almost impossibly slim. They would need to finish 4-0 as well as get some help from across the league.
Brown admitted before the season started, those half-empty stadiums do leave a mark on him.
“Of course I worry about attendance figures,” Brown said in July. “I’ve been able to add and subtract for a long time. I can look out there. I see what you see. Does it bother me? It bothers me to my core. I don’t like it, and I dearly want to get us back to where we have the enthusiasm and the support that I think we want. That’s a big goal.”
“The only way we win back the fans is to win football games,” Lewis said. “It’s been true the whole time we have been here. We have to win games to get people to come out and enjoy it on Sunday. That’s what the goal is. The players can’t be affected by that. They just have to go play. I tell them they have to bring their own energy. It’s got to be up to them. It’s us, that’s what counts.”